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Babar ton headlines clinical show as Pakistan make it 4-0

Pakistan put on a dominant all-round performance to stretch their lead over New Zealand to 4-0 in the ODI series as they secured a 102-run victory in Karachi on Saturday (May 6). Babar Azam struck his first hundred of the series and also became the fastest to 5000 ODI runs en route (97 innings) while Agha Salman hit a brisk half-century to provide a good platform for Pakistan after they were asked to bat. Cameos from Iftikhar Ahmed, Shaheen Afridi and Mohammad Haris ensured the hosts finished with a sizable 334/6. Tom Latham (60) and Mark Chapman (46) showed some fight but the innings fell apart in quick time after they were both dismissed as New Zealand were bundled out for 232.
Shan Masood and the in-form Fakhar Zaman collected six fours between them in the first six overs to help Pakistan off to a positive start. Zaman, however, top-edged a pull off Matt Henry to depart for 14. Masood, who was looking good for a fifty, was stumped off Ish Sodhi for 44 while Mohammad Rizwan failed to convert his start into anything substantial as he was run out for 24, leaving Pakistan in a slight bother at 128/3 in the 25th over.
Babar and Salman kept the boundaries coming to make sure that Pakistan’s innings did not stagnate. Salman also struck two straight sixes off Cole McConchie as the fourth wicket pair put on 117. But the partnership came to an end when Salman chipped a catch back to Henry to depart for a 46-ball 58. Babar slowed down a touch as he was approaching his 18th ODI ton but Iftikhar provided the fire-power with five fours, including three in an over off Blair Tickner, before he became Henry’s third scalp.
Babar, who registered a 113-ball ton, fell to Ben Lister as he handed a catch to deep midwicket, leaving Pakistan at 296/6 in 48 overs. Haris and Shaheen blazed away in the last two overs, scoring 38 runs. While Haris struck a six and a four off Henry, Shaheen hit three maximums and a boundary off Tickner in the final over to help Pakistan finish with a big total.
New Zealand’s top-order batters got off to promising starts but Pakistan made timely strikes to never let the opposition off the hook in the chase. A 36-run opening stand came to an end in the seventh over when Will Young found the deep midwicket fielder to give Mohammad Wasim Jr the first wicket. Tom Blundell fell in the next over, chipping a catch to cover off Haris Rauf.
Daryl Mitchell and Latham steadied the innings with a 83-run partnership for the third wicket. There was also a poor review and a missed stumping during this period, with Latham on strike both times. Mitchell too had a lucky break when he was on 30 as Babar put down a simple catch at cover to deny Usama Mir a wicket. But the bowler eventually got rid of New Zealand’s highest scorer in the series as Mitchell got a thick outside edge to short third man to head back for a 48-ball 34.
Latham then got to a 67-ball 50 while Chapman started his outing aggressively, striking three sixes and two fours in three overs, targeting Iftikhar and Salman. The pair brought up a fifty-run stand in quick time before Shaheen struck to remove the New Zealand skipper, who got an edge to the ‘keeper. Chapman missed a pull and was bowled by Usama in the 36th over, and it was all downhill from there on. New Zealand, who were 201/5 at the time of Chapman’s dismissal, lost their last five wickets for the addition of only 31 runs to be bowled out in the 44th over. Usama pocketed a four-wicket haul while Wasim Jr finished with three.
Brief scores: Pakistan 334/6 in 50 overs (Babar Azam 107, Agha Salman 58; Matt Henry 3-65) beat New Zealand 232 in 43.4 overs (Tom Latham 60, Mark Chapman 46; Usama Mir 4-43) by 102 runs.

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