Dec 14, 2014

Pakistan have set New Zealand a mammoth 365 to win the third One-Day International (ODI) at Sharjah. Riding on the back of Ahmed Shehzad’s sixth ODI ton and Shahid Afridi’s ferocious onslaught in the last 10 overs, Pakistan managed to put up their highest score of the series, which is also the highest team total in the history of ODI cricket at Sharjah.

Pakistan had to change their archaic approach to batting in order to put pressure on the Kiwis and the early signs were encouraging as both Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shehzad took the attack to the Kiwi bowlers right from the outset. The duo took full toll of the field restrictions, finding the boundary with great ease and regularity. The openers brought up the Pakistan fifty in the seventh over of their innings. This was by far the best start for Pakistan in the three ODIs thus far. At the score of 63 was when Pakistan lost their first wicket. Hafeez was caught behind off the bowling of Corey Anderson for a cameo of 33 from 27 balls. Hafeez’s short but brisk innings included five fours and one six.

The dismissal of Hafeez didn’t deter his opening partner Shehzad who continued batting in the same vein in the company of Younis Khan. Younis recognised the need for speed, as he too helped himself to a uncharacteristically well paced 35 which included four fours and a six before he holed out to Corey Anderson in the deep off the bowling of Nathan McCullum. Younis and Shehzad had added 70 runs for the second wicket. Pakistan motored along despite the loss of Younis, as Shehzad completed his sixth ODI hundred. Shehzad was under immense pressure coming into the third ODI following failures in the previous games. He reached the milestone in 112 balls with the help of ten fours and two sixes. Shehzad was finally dismissed for 113 in 120 balls, as New Zealand began to claw back into the game. Matt Henry struck twice in consecutive deliveries to send Shehzad and Asad Shafiq back into the hut. Shehzad holed out to mid-off in an attempt to up the ante in the batting powerplay. Shafiq was bowled by Henry of the very next ball.

The dismissals of Shehzad and Shafiq though untimely, brought to the crease the two in form Batsmen,  who were the architects of the win at Dubai. Shahid Afridi promoted himself in the batting order and his decision paid rich dividends as he scored a blistering 54 in 24 balls. The carnage began in the 40th over which fetched 18 runs.  Afridi carted the off target Kiwi bowlers to all corners of the park, taking a special liking to Corey Anderson who conceded an astonishing 96 runs from his quota of 10 overs. Amidst all the brutality, Haris Sohail timed the ball exquisitely. He held his own in the company of Afridi scoring 39 in 28 balls. The duo added 89 runs from a mere 45 balls  helping Pakistan to an eventual score of 364 in their stipulated fifty overs.

Brief Scores:

Pakistan 364 for 7 in 50 overs ( Ahmed Shehzad 113, Shahid Afridi 54; Mitchell McClenaghan 3 for 82, Nathan McCullum 1 for 49 ) vs New Zealand

Full Scorecard