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PAK vs NZ: New Zealand avoid clean sweep as Pakistan lose top ODI spot

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KARACHI: Henry Shipley starred with the ball after brilliant half-centuries from Tom Latham and Will Young as New Zealand came back roaring to deny Pakistan a clean sweep in the fifth PAK vs NZ ODI here at National Bank Cricket Arena.

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Set to chase a mammoth 300, Pakistan’s strong batting lineup stuttered and could raise 252 before bundling out in the 47th over despite a fighting 94-run knock by Iftikhar Ahmed.

The home side got off to a dismal start to the pursuit as their opener Shan Masood (7 off 20) perished cheaply in the eighth over with just 29 runs on the scoreboard.

Pakistan endured a huge blow in the next over when skipper Babar Azam fell for just one run in his 100th ODI after looking to drive off Henry Shipley.

Promoted to bat at No.4, Mohammad Rizwan failed to make an impact in a clutch situation for his side as he perished for just nine runs and faced 15 deliveries.

The hosts then slipped to 66/4 in the 19th over after set batter Fakhar Zaman miscued one in an attempt to go big off Rachin Ravindra. He could score 33 off 64 deliveries, laced with five boundaries.

Following the slump, Salman Ali Agha and Iftikhar Ahmed attempted to anchor the run chase with a fighting 97-run partnership for the fifth wicket.

The duo appeared to have settled down to take the game away from the touring side until Shipley struck again.

The right-arm pacer bamboozled Agha with extra bounce, who fell for a well-crafted 57 off as many deliveries which featured six boundaries and a six.

Iftikhar, on the other hand, stood his ground firm and put on a brief partnership with Shadab Khan, who could score a run-a-ball 14 before Adam Milne dismissed him in the 39th over.

Usama Mir then walked out into the middle and joined hands with Iftikhar for another brief partnership for Pakistan that lasted for three overs.

New Zealand captain Tom Latham’s quick bowling changes worked for him as Ravindra struck twice in the same over; removing Usama (20) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (0) to enhance the touring side’s grip on the game.

Meanwhile, Iftikhar Ahmed kept pushing for victory while his side was losing wickets at an alarming rate and in the end saw his efforts going in vain as Pakistan bundled out in the 47th over with Haris Rauf being the last casualty, who got run out for just one.

Iftikhar top-scored for Pakistan with an unbeaten 94 off 72 deliveries with the help of eight boundaries and two sixes.

Trailing 4-0 in the series, the Black Caps opted to bat first for the first time after winning the toss at the National Bank Cricket Arena in the fifth PAK vs NZ ODI.

Will Young led the charge for the visitors as he smashed 91-ball 87 before captain Tom Latham and Mark Chapman made useful contributions of 43 and 58.

Pakistan fast bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi, who remained unimpressive in his opening spell, stormed through the lower order and took three wickets in the death overs to keep New Zealand in check.

From 267 for 5 in the 45th over, New Zealand slid to 299 all-out after Shaheen and Haris put up some excellent effort with the ball in the last five overs.

Shadab, who made his return after being benched in the last ODI, gave Pakistan crucial breakthroughs in the middle overs as he removed well-set Young and Chapman, breaking 50-plus partnerships on both occasions.

Usama Mir (2-53) then struck down Tom Latham at the right time as the left-hander was looking to be in great touch since he smashed five fours during 58-ball 59.

Cole McConchie and Rachin Ravindra also showed some intent in the latter part of the innings with their respective knocks of 26 and 28.

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