Ravindra 97 trumps Rizwan ton as NZ chase down 346

New Zealand 346 for 5 (Ravindra 97, Chapman 65*, Mitchell 59, Williamson 54, Mir 2-68) beat Pakistan 345 for 5 (Rizwan 103, Babar 80, Shakeel 75, Santner 2-39) by five wickets

Mohammad Rizwan’s century and half-centuries from Babar Azam and Saud Shakeel went in vain as Pakistan couldn’t defend 345 in their warm-up match against New Zealand in Hyderabad. Rachin Ravindra seized his chance as an opener, scoring 97 off 72 balls to lead New Zealand’s successful chase.
New Zealand will also be pleased with the progress of Kane Williamson, who marked his return from a six-month injury layoff with a 49-ball fifty. Daryl Mitchell and Mark Chapman also hit half-centuries to warm up for the World Cup proper.

After opting to bat first, Pakistan lost two early wickets, but Babar and Rizwan steadied the innings and set the scene for the late assault from Shakeel. Babar and Rizwan added 114 for the third wicket before Mitchell Santner snagged Babar for 80 off 84 balls. Rizwan was more fluent against spin and often manufactured room to drive them inside-out over extra-cover. He pressed onto a century and then retired out on 103 off 94 balls. Shakeel and Agha Salman teed off in the end overs to take Pakistan closer to 350. But it wasn’t enough in the end.

Ravindra, who often bats in the top order for his domestic side Wellington Firebirds, made a strong impression in the same role for the national team too. He was responsible for 32 of the 65 runs New Zealand had scored in the mandatory powerplay. He combined with Williamson and picked away spinners Salman and Usama Mir with ease. Williamson retired out on 54 and Ravindra fell three short of a century, but Mitchell and Chapman ensured that New Zealand coasted to victory, with more than six overs to spare. Barring Mir, every Pakistan bowler conceded at over seven runs an over.

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