World Cup 2023 warm-up: Williamson helps steer New Zealand to impressive victory over Pakistan

Hyderabad, Sep 30 (IANS): Kane Williamson scored an unbeaten 54 in his first innings since March as New Zealand successfully chased down 345 to beat Pakistan in their first ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 warm-up match, here.

The Black Caps captain is still recovering from a knee injury and has been ruled out of the opening game of the tournament against England next Thursday.

However, he gained crucial time in the middle against Pakistan and looked in fine touch in Hyderabad, where Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell and Mark Chapman also passed 50 in the run chase.

Batting second was the key to success on the first day of warm-up action, as Bangladesh chased 263 to beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets, while the day’s other scheduled match between Afghanistan and South Africa was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

With five wins from their eight ODI matches against New Zealand this year, Pakistan were understandably confident in Hyderabad and made a fabulous start with the bat.

Despite losing Imam-ul-Haq for just one after the opener misjudged the seam movement from a Matt Henry delivery, Pakistan made quick progress thanks to a 114-run third-wicket partnership between captain Babar Azam and wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan.

Babar was the more controlled of the pair but still went along at just under a run-a-ball, his 10 boundaries – including two sixes – helping him to 80 off 84 before he holed out off Mitchell Santner.

Rizwan, who looked in fine touch during the Asia Cup where he three half-centuries, continued that form with an excellent 103 from 94 deliveries.

They were well supported by Saud Shakeel’s 53-ball 75 that featured four sixes, and Agha Salman’s unbeaten 33, as Pakistan finished on 345 for five.

New Zealand made a slow start, with opening batter Devon Conway chipping his first ball to square leg, but they made an impressive recovery as Ravindra and Williamson put on 179 for the second wicket.

Williamson, who did not field as he continues to work his way back to fitness, retired on 54, while the next man in, Mitchell, followed suit and retired after a half-century – his 57-ball 59 featuring five boundaries.

Ravindra was the glue of the star of the innings, as his brisk 97 – coming off just 72 deliveries – featured 16 fours, while Mark Chapman’s unbeaten 65 saw them over the line.

Brief score: Pakistan 345/5 in 50 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 103, BabarAzam 80; Mitchell Santner 2/30, Matt Henry 1/8), New Zealand 346/5 (Rachin Ravindra 97, Mark Chapman 65 not out; Usama Mir 2/68, Mohammad Wasim1/58)



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Title: World Cup 2023 warm-up: Williamson helps steer New Zealand to impressive victory over Pakistan

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