New Zealand’s minnow team again beat full-fledge Pakistan side


Lincoln: Second string New Zealand team President’s XI again thrashed full-fledge Pakistan cricket team here in Lincoln by one wicket in a warm-up match on Tuesday.

Pakistan is in New Zealand to play two-match series against the hosts before leaving for Australia for the World Cup 2015. The two matches will be played on January 31 and February 3 at Wellington and Napier respectively. Prior to the series, Pakistan has now played two warm-up games, losing both of them. President’s XI previously defeated the visitors comprehensively by six wickets.

On Tuesday, Pakistan batted first and were reduced to 5-79. The first victim was wicket-keeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmed, who opened for the side instead of Ahmed Shahzad. Ahmed was rested for the match. Sarfraz failed to score a single run.

Experienced Younus Khan, who had claimed to emulate 1992 World Cup’s Imran Khan at No 3 position before he left, also lost his wicket cheaply scoring seven runs. Mohammad Hafeez followed soon with unimpressive 18 runs. All-rounder Haris Sohail, who has claimed to have seen a ghost at his hotel room in New Zealand, also failed to impress losing his wicket cheaply for six runs. Sohaib Maqsood also lost his wicket after scoring 25 with team’s score of 5-79.

However, when skipper Misbah-ul-Haq came on the crease in the 19th over, Pakistan inning was anchored from a total collapse. Misbah managed a partnership of 116 runs with Umar Akmal to bring the side out of danger. Umar (77 runs) was bowled out by teammate Ehsan Adil, who surprisingly played for President’s XI.

Misbah then put another 72 runs with all-rounder Bilawal Bhatti, who got run out on the last ball of the inning. Misbah remained unbeaten on 88 off 89 balls. Misbah scored a century in the previous match. Bilawal scored 23.

President’s XI batting line might also have collapsed completely after being reduced to 4-59, but a massive 153-run knock from uncapped New Zealander MA Pollard played pivotal role in his team’s triumph. Pakistan’s top pacer Mohammad Irfan removed Pollard in 47th over.

But in spite of the big knock from the opener, President’s XI struggled to reach the total and after a thrilling last few deliveries, they won the match with only a wicket in hand and a single ball to spare.

Mohammad Irfan bowled lethally and captured three wickets including the wicket of dangerous Pollard. Bilawal Bhatti also hauled three wickets while Sohail Khan captured two and spinner Yasir Shah one wicket. Haris Sohail and Mohammad Hafeez bowled four and seven overs respectively without any success.

Mohammad Hafeez is banned from bowling but  since it was only a warm-up match, international rules doesn’t apply.