Babar and Fakhar thrilled as Pakistan keep World Cup hopes alive with emphatic win

By Sports Desk October 31, 2023

Pakistan are targeting a late push for the Cricket World Cup semi-finals after a convincing seven-wicket win over Bangladesh.

Faced with a target of 205 at Eden Gardens in Kolkata, Pakistan made light work of knocking it off, thanks in large part to opener Fakhar Zaman's 74-ball 81, which included seven sixes.

That victory moved Pakistan onto six points, with two pool matches - against third-placed New Zealand and lowly England - remaining.

Should they win both, then Babar Azam's side stand a strong chance of qualifying, though they will also rely on both the Black Caps and Australia, who both have a match in hand, slipping up.

 

"Credit to the boys, the way they played in all three departments," said captain Babar at the post-match presentation.

"We know how well Fakhar plays when he's going and it was good to see him do it.

"We are trying to win our remaining matches and see where we stand. This win hopefully gives confidence in the coming matches."

Bangladesh, meanwhile, have been eliminated, with their captain Shakib Al Hasan saying: "Not enough runs.

"We lost an early wicket, then we had partnerships but not big ones that would allow us to go big in the last ten overs."

Shakib put on 43 to complement a 45 from Litton Das and Mahmudullah's 56, but Bangladesh were bowled out for 204 after only 45.1 overs.

Fakhar's superb knock and Abdullah Shafique's 68 swiftly paved the way for Mohammad Rizwan (26 not out) and Iftikhar Ahmed (17no) to seal victory for Pakistan in the 33rd over.

It was just the fourth time Pakistan had defeated a team with at least 100 balls remaining in an ODI, having last done so against West Indies in 2011. The big win boosted their net run rate, which may still prove decisive in the battle to reach the semis.

 

"I practiced a lot after the Asia Cup," said Fakhar, who after hitting three successive ODI centuries earlier this year, had failed to score above 33 in his 11 innings since the start of May and lost his place in the side.

"Thankfully, I was feeling very good in the camp. I was looking forward to scoring for my team, but it's cricket, Today I got a chance. I had worked hard for this and it paid off.

"It doesn’t matter how the wicket will play, I know I can hit sixes, so I was just looking to play out the first four overs.

"My role is always to make it easy for my partner. I know my role, it was to see off the first four overs and then go for the ball. We were just looking to finish the game before the 30 overs.

"After too many failures I was always looking just to score the first 30 runs and I was struggling to get that. I’m very happy – hopefully I'll make it big in the next games."

Shaheen Afridi, meanwhile, joined Australia spinner Adam Zampa at the top of the wicket-taking charts for the tournament with figures of 3-23.

Related items

  • Brook keen to focus on Test cricket amid England captaincy uncertainty Brook keen to focus on Test cricket amid England captaincy uncertainty

    Harry Brook has stated that while Test cricket is his main priority, gaining leadership experience in the Hundred could see him throw his hat in the ring for England’s white-ball captaincy one day.

    The futures of skipper Jos Buttler and head coach Matthew Mott are up in the air after England's failure to successfully defend their 50-over and T20 World Cup titles.

    Brook, who has risen to third in the ICC Test batting rankings, a place behind his team-mate Joe Root, is a possible candidate to take on the captaincy.

    The 25-year-old starred in England's win over the West Indies last week, scoring a fifth Test century at Trent Bridge from 139 balls in their 241-run triumph. 

    Brook is due to lead Northern Superchargers in the 100-ball tournament under coach Andrew Flintoff, who was England’s assistant coach at the T20 World Cup in June.

    "This is my first captaincy role with the Superchargers," Brook said. "We'll see how that goes and then maybe I'll have a different answer in a couple of months.

    "I don't see anything happening any time soon, so I'll just stay in the moment and focus on Test cricket."

    Brook will join up with the Superchargers following England's third and final Test against West Indies at Edgbaston, which begins on Friday. 

    England’s schedule makes it difficult for Brook or any other Test regular to captain the white-ball team. The first T20 against Australia is the day after the Test series against Sri Lanka finishes.

    The ODI series later that month ends a couple of days before England fly to Pakistan to play Tests. That series finishes on October 28, with an ODI series in the Caribbean beginning three days later.

    "I want to play every Test match I can for England," said Brook. 

    "Test cricket is my priority. I don't want to think too far ahead. The Ashes is a long way away and we have a lot of Test cricket before then. My main focus is to stay in the moment and not get ahead of myself."

  • Windies players register positive moves on ICC Test rankings despite crushing defeats to England Windies players register positive moves on ICC Test rankings despite crushing defeats to England

    Despite two crushing defeats to England so far in their ongoing ICC Test Championship three-match series, West Indies players remain on the up, at least where the ICC Men’s Test rankings are concerned.

    Captain Kraigg Brathwaite leads the charge on the batting ranking, as he moved up two slots to 40th position, following scores of 48 and 47 in the second Test, which West Indies lost by 241 runs. They lost the first Test by an innings and 114 runs and will try to avoid a whitewash in the final Test in Edgbaston starting on Friday.

    Wicketkeeper/batsman Joshua de Silva was rewarded for his first innings score of 82 in that match, as he jumped seven places to 61st, while Jason Holder’s 27 and 37 saw him inched up two places to 70th. Kavem Hodge’s 120, which was his maiden Test century, pushed him into the top 80.

    The Dominican batsman moved 21 places up to 75th, one spot behind Kyle Mayers, who, despite being out of action, remains in 74th. Alick Athanaze held firm in 77th, while discarded Jermaine Blackwood (50th), Tagenarine Chanderpaul (83rd), Roston Chase (86th), and Kirk McKenzie (100) are the other Caribbean batsmen in the top 100.

    On the bowling chart, new-ball bowlers Alzarri Joseph and Jayden Seales made the only notable improvements to their rankings. Joseph moved up two places to 33rd after finishing with five wickets in the match, and Seales moved up 10 places from 44th to 34th with six wickets.

    Meanwhile, England batter Harry Brook has achieved a career-best third position after notching a century in the second Test.

    Brook, who scored 36 and 109 in Nottingham, advanced four places, while his teammates Ben Duckett and Ollie Pope have also made significant gains in the latest weekly update to the men’s rankings, which are carried out on Wednesdays across formats.

    Left-handed opener Duckett has progressed six places to 16th position after notching scores of 71 and 76, while Player of the Match Pope has advanced from 29th to 21st with scores of 121 and 51.

    Chris Woakes is back into the top 20 of the bowling rankings for the first time since September 2021, after he finished with four for 84 and two for 28 in the match, while spinner Shoaib Bashir has advanced 18 slots to 53rd position after he took his third five-wicket haul in just his fifth Test.

    In the ICC World Test Championship standings, England are placed in sixth place, while West Indies are ninth, as per the percentage points that determine qualification.

  • Ashes in Archer's sight as paceman aims for England Test return in 2025 Ashes in Archer's sight as paceman aims for England Test return in 2025

    Jofra Archer says he wants to play in the 2025-26 Ashes series in Australia as he outlined his intentions for a return to Test cricket with England.

    Archer has not been part of England's Test side since February 2021, with the paceman having struggled with numerous injuries over the last few years.

    He performed well in the 2019 Ashes, taking 22 wickets at an average of 20.27, and his full involvement in England's recent T20 World Cup campaign hints at a return to the longer format.

    His pace would be ideal on Australia's bouncy pitches and a real asset to captain Ben Stokes and coach Brendon McCullum as they aim to win an Ashes series down under for the first time in 14 years.

    Nevertheless, Archer's fitness is being carefully monitored by the management team and he will not play any red-ball cricket in 2024.

    When asked about the possibility of being involved in the Ashes, Archer said: "I am going to use the rest of the year to make sure this is at least a possibility.

    "I'm tired of going on Instagram and seeing posts saying 'He's going to be on the physio's bed in the next two weeks' and stuff like that.

    "I want to spend the rest of the year proving some people wrong and hopefully play in another Ashes."

    Archer himself also said that he would be keen to play first-class cricket for Sussex early next summer.

    Speaking as part of BBC Sport's coverage for the opening match of the Hundred, the 29-year-old said: "I will manage myself as best as possible and get myself through until at least maybe the start of the Championship next year.

    "I'll probably play a few of those games and keep building up and getting that workload ready for Test cricket."

    He will make his debut in the 100-ball competition on Wednesday for Southern Brave against London Spirit at the Utilita Bowl.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.