World Cup 2023: Fabulous Fakhar pulls off stunning chase to keep Pakistan alive

An astonishing batting display kept Pakistan’s World Cup semi-final hopes alive in a rain-affected encounter against New Zealand in Bengaluru.

Set 402 to win, Pakistan raced to 160-1 in 21.3 overs with Fakhar Zaman hitting a sublime 63-ball century before the rain fell.

Pakistan were given a revised target of 342 in 41 overs but only four more overs were possible.

Fakhar finished with 126 and captain Babar Azam 66 in a crucial 21-run win.

The Black Caps piled up 401-6 after Rachin Ravindra’s masterful 108, but struggled with a depleted bowling line-up after injuries to seamers Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson.

Pakistan’s batters capitalised on a good batting pitch, with Fakhar smashing 11 sixes in his knock while Babar played a supportive role.

Despite their bowling woes, New Zealand’s batting was strengthened by the return of captain Kane Williamson, who made a majestic 95 in a second-wicket stand of 180 with opener Ravindra.

Cameos from Daryl Mitchell, Mark Chapman and Glenn Phillips propelled New Zealand past 400 as Pakistan’s bowlers also struggled.

Haris Rauf’s figures of 1-82 were the most expensive by a Pakistan bowler in World Cup history, only for Shaheen Afridi to break the record minutes later with 0-90.

The result keeps the group stage open, though New Zealand remain favourites for a semi-final spot because of their superior net-run rate to Afghanistan and Pakistan, with all three teams on eight points.

Pakistan’s next game comes against England on 11 November, who could still be in contention for a semi-final spot if they beat Australia in Saturday’s later fixture. (BBC)