| Abdul Razzaq during his match-winning innings of 47 against New Zealand at the Gaddaffi Stadium in Lahore on Saturday. (AFP)
Lahore, Nov. 29 (AFP): Allrounder Abdul Razzaq snatched an unlikely victory with a blazing unbeaten 47 off just 22 balls in the first one-day International at the Gaddaffi Stadium against New Zealand on Saturday.
Razzaq, named Man of the Match, hit three boundaries and two sixes and with Mohammed Sami, who made 17 from eight balls, including two sixes, successfully steered Pakistan to a challenging target of 292 in 48 overs.
Earlier captain Chris Cairns (84 n.o.) hit six sixes and five fours to help New Zealand reach 291 for five in their 50 overs after winning the toss and deciding to bat. Razzaq and Sami needed 65 runs off 39 balls but both held their nerve and added 65 off just 27 balls for a matchwinning eighth-wicket stand.
Pakistan had started off disastrously, losing opener Imran Farhat in the third ball of the innings when debutant Michael Mason forced an edge to wicketkeeper Brendon McCullum for nought. Yasir Hameed and Yousuf Youhana settled the home team with a 90-run second wicket stand, taking 23 off Cairns’ first two overs, although both fell within the space of two runs.
Youhana failed to beat a throw from Hamish Marshall in the covers and was run out for a 40-ball 42 with five boundaries while Hameed was caught in the covers for 52, including seven boundaries. New Zealand was lifted by Cairns who hit legspinner Danish Kaneria for three sixes in the 48th over, scoring his first fifty in his last 11 one-day games.
With Jacob Oram, he added a quickfire 90 off just 60 balls for the fifth wicket as New Zealand slogged 122 runs in the last ten overs. Cairns took 22 off the last over by Abdul Razzaq to complete the run riot. Oram hit a 31-ball 35 with three boundaries and a six. Debutant Marshall and Mathew Sinclair also hit half centuries. New Zealand, without their regular captain Stephen Fleming and seven other key members, rested allrounder Chris Harris and spearhead Daryl Tuffey and gave six players — Craig Cumming, Richard Jones, Marshall, Matthew Walker, Kerry Walmsley and Mason — their first one-day caps.
Cumming and Jones gave New Zealand a confident start of 49 by the tenth over before Shabbir Ahmed dismissed Cumming for 25. Razzaq bowled Jones for 16 soon after. Sinclair, playing his first match since a World Cup game in March this year, and Marshall then added a solid 99 in quick time and hit some delightful strokes. Sinclair and Marshall fell in quick succession after making 55 each.
“We were in until Razzaq took away the match but still we look forward and hopefully can come back in the series,” said Cairns afterwards. Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul Haq praised the efforts of Razzaq. “He showed why he is so dangerous and a world-class allrounder, he helped us win the match from a position where we thought it had slipped away,” said Inzamam.
Match not televised
The match was not televised due to a row over transmission rights between the state-run Pakistan Television Corporation (PTV) and the local cricket board. The PCB sold the rights for the five-match series to the private GEO channel, but PTV claimed there was no proper bidding process. The state-run Pakistan Electronic Media Regulation Authority sided with the PTV and did not provide an up-link facility to GEO for Saturday’s match to be screened.
Rameez Raja, chief executive of PCB, said PTV had opted not to participate in the bidding process.