Pakistan makes 262-8 in 4th ODI vs New Zealand
HAMILTON, NEW ZEALAND: Half centuries by Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfaz Ahmed carried Pakistan to 262-8 as it batted first Tuesday in the fourth one-day cricket international against New Zealand.
Fakhar made 54 at the top of the order; Haris made 50 in his first ODI in almost two years; Hafeez produced his 34th ODI half century and went on to top score with 81, hitting 22 runs including three sixes in the final over before being run out on the last ball of the innings.
Captain Sarfaz (51) combined with Hafeez in a 98-run partnership for the sixth wicket which substantially boosted Pakistan's total after a poor start and after it struggled to boost its scoring rate through the middle of the innings.
After winning the toss and batting, Pakistan again lost early wickets and found itself 11-2 after five overs.
Allrounder Faheem Ashraf, promoted to open in place of Azhar Ali as Pakistan sought a more positive start to its innings, was out for 1 in the third over, caught by wicketkeeper Tom Latham off Tim Southee as he flashed lazily outside off stump.
Babar Azam (3) also fell to a catch by Latham off Southee and Pakistan again found itself under pressure early in its innings.
Fakhar and Sohail rebuilt the innings in a 86-run, third-wicket partnership. Fakhar reached a half century from 68 balls which included seven fours and a six and Haris celebrated his long-delayed return to the Pakistan ODI lineup with a half century from 73 balls.
Haris was a regular for Pakistan through the 2015 World Cup but lost his place when he was forced to undergo knee surgery.
Pakistan's problem was that both batsmen were out soon after reaching their half centuries — Fakhar made an error when he charged left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, was cramped by a ball which pitched on his legs and went through his shot to hit leg stump.
Sohail was one of two wickets for New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, who took 2-32 with 10 overs of part-time spin through the middle of the innings.
Williamson's other wicket was veteran Shoaib Malik (6). Malik, batting without a helmet while the spinners were operating, was struck on the head by a throw from Colin Munro and required lengthy medical attention. He was clearly disconcerted and was out soon afterward.
The partnership between Hafeez and Sarfraz dominated the latter part of the innings, both accelerating their scoring rate sharply at the end.
Sarfraz was eventually caught at point off Trent Boult's bowling but Hafeez continued to dominate the New Zealand bowlers, striking five fours and four sixes.
New Zealand has already won the five-match series, winning the first and second matches under the Duckworth-Lewis system and the third by 183 runs.