Thanks Rob and hello everyone. Confession time – I’m a teensy bit hungover this morning, too much revelry after Friday night five-a-side footy – there was a lot to unpick. Will a Pakistan run-fest perk me up? Maybe. New Zealand running through Babar Azam’s side like a hot knife through ghee in less than a couple of hours would be… nice.
That’s all from me. Jim Wallace will be along for the runchase (sic), and in the meantime you can follow England v Australia in Ahmedabad. Bye!
Where to start? With Rachin Ravindra, of course. He top-scored with a charming 108, his third century of a never-to-be-forgotten World Cup debut, and added 180 for the second wicket with Kane Williamson in less than 23 overs. Williamson was eye-catchingly fluent on his return, hitting 95 from 79 balls.
That platform allowed the bovver boys in the middle order to cause mayham, and all bar Tom Latham (who faced only two balls) scored at a strike rate of at least 140.
Pakistan’s bowling performance was imperfect, with Shaheen Afridi (10-0-90-0) and Haris Rauf (10-0-85-1) bowling the two most expensive spells in their World Cup history. Hasan Ali went for 82 as well, but the youngster Mohammad Wasim was outstanding and took 3/60.
The pitch is much better than expected, certainly when the quicks are bowling, but it’s hard to see how Pakistan – who have never chased 350 to win an ODI, never mind 400 – can pull this off. Not least because New Zealand have four spinners.
“You say it so casually that it almost hides the bizarreness – that New Zealand have made their highest score ever in a World Cup,” says Nick Parish. “Against Pakistan, in the sub-continent. Consider all the matches they’ve played against Zimbabwe, Ireland, Bangladesh over the years. Not to mention England…”
I think I’m punch-drunk after four weeks of OBOing these run-orgies. Also, in fairness, the way Conway and Ravindra were batting against England, they’d probably have made 500 if necessary.
50th over: New Zealand 401-6 (Santner 26, Latham 2) Santner drives Afridi’s third-last delivery magnificently over long off for six, a shot that breaks two records. This is now New Zealand’s highest score at a World Cup, and Afridi has stolen Haris Rauf’s hard-earned record for the worst figures by a Pakistan bowler in a World Cup game.
Santner pilfers three off the last two balls, which takes New Zealand past 400 and just short of their highest ODI score of 402. And I don’t know whether I’ve mentioned this before, but Pakistan bloody well put them into bloody bat.
49th over: New Zealand 388-6 (Santner 15, Latham 1) Tom Latham tucks Wasim’s final ball for a single. Wasim, by far the pick of the bowlers, finishes with 10-0-60-3.
Santner swipes Wasim over long-off for six, yet another boundary off the first ball of an over. A savage slap through the covers gives Phillips four more – but again Wasim’s response is impressive. He knows Phillips is backing away so he arrows a very wide delivery just inside the tramlines.
Wasim tries again next ball but goes too wide. So he changes his approach and follows Phillips with an attempted yorker that hits the pad and deflects back onto the stumps. Lovely stuff from a fine young bowler, and the end of a seriously hard-hitting innings: 41 from 25 balls with four fours and two sixes.
48th over: New Zealand 376-5 (Phillips 37, Santner 8) Santner is dropped by Salman Ali Agha, a very tough diving chance on the edge of the circle. A hitherto excellent over from Afridi, full of variations, is ruined when Phillips clubs a low full toss over long-on for six.
New Zealand need 18 from 12 balls to make their highest score at a World Cup, and 27 for their highest ODI total.
47th over: New Zealand 366-5 (Phillips 30, Santner 6) Amid the rubble, Pakistan appear to have found one in Mohammad Wasim*. He concludes another fine over – four singles, one two – by beating Phillips for pace.
Pakistan are running over in the field, which means they will be allowed four outside the circle for the last three overs.
* Mind you, I thought the same about Basit Ali in the Caribbean in 1992-93. You rarely know in sport, and you never know when it comes to Pakistan cricket.
46th over: New Zealand 360-5 (Phillips 27, Santner 1) The first ball of Haris Rauf’s final over is muscled spectacularly over wide long-on for six by Phillips. A ferocious cut for four more is followed by a single which takes him to 28 from 16 balls – and makes Rauf’s spell the most expensive in Pakistan’s World Cup history. (Men’s World Cup history, that is.)
Haris being Haris, the last ball of his record-breaking spell is a jaffa that beats Santner. He finishes with figures of 10-0-85-1.
45th over: New Zealand 347-5 (Phillips 16, Santner 1) Tom Latham continues to slide down the order, with Mitchell Santner promoted to No7. His first ball brings an unsuccessful LBW appeal; pitched outside leg.
That’s a fine over from Wasim, who has been one of the few positives of this Pakistan campaign: in three games he has taken seven wickets at 17.
Chapman misses, Mohammad Wasim hits. He was trying to hoick it over midwicket but it was slightly too full and skidded on to hit the top of off. That’s another good wicket for Pakistan, which ends a perky innings of 39 from 27 balls.
44th over: New Zealand 343-4 (Chapman 39, Phillips 14) Not for the first time in this tournament, poor Haris Rauf is threatening to take Hasan Ali’s unwanted record for the worst bowling figures by a Pakistan bowler at a World Cup (9-0-84-1).
Rauf often pulls it back at the death, though, and he keeps New Zealand to six runs with some skilful bowling. That gives him figures of 9-0-72-1.
The number of cock-ups at the toss in this tournament is fascinating, especially as most involve the same mistake. This will be the eighth 350+ total against a Test-playing nation who chose to bowl first; there were only seven in the previous 12 World Cups combined. That’s a helluva statistic, even if I do say so myself. And there might be a ninth in a few hours’ time after England chose to field on a sweltering day in Ahmedabad.
43rd over: New Zealand 337-4 (Chapman 37, Phillips 12) For the umpteenth time today the first ball of an over is hit for four, this time by Chapman off Hasan Ali. At times today Hasan has bowled well – but his bad overs have been dreadful, which is why he finishes with grim figures of 10-0-82-1. A boundary off the last ball would have made Hasan’s figures the worst by a Pakistan bowler at a World Cup, though he already holds that record.
42nd over: New Zealand 326-4 (Chapman 30, Phillips 8) An attempted yorker from Rauf goes wrong and is flicked for four by the new batter Glenn Phillips. That’s New Zealand’s 42nd four of the innings, an ODI record for them, and No43 follows two balls later with a brutal cover drive.
Pakistan won the toss you know.
“I suppose we should be grateful that we saw the denouement of young Ravindra’s magnificent innings before Sky ripped us over to watch a coin toss,” writes Brian Withington. “I stayed long enough to hear Jos Buttler’s interview with Michael Atherton, who served up some friendly half volleys that the former treated like toe-crushing yorkers. Not sure he’s got much left in the tank. Meanwhile NZ are looking like powering their way into the semis, barring a truly momentous chase …”
New Zealand could still go out even if they win today, though it would take an unlikely sequence of results.
Haris Rauf may go the distance but he always come back for more. He has dismissed the dangerous Daryl Mitchell with a terrific off-break that took the inside edge and ricocheted onto the stumps. Mitchell goes for a no-nonsense 29 from 18 balls.
41st over: New Zealand 318-3 (Mitchell 29, Chapman 30) Mitchell blooters successive deliveries from Hasan Ali down the ground for four and six. New Zealand, who have scored 57 from the last fiver overs, look set to beat their highest World Cup score, the Guptill-fuelled 393/6 against West Indies in the 2015 quarter-final.
40th over: New Zealand 307-3 (Mitchell 18, Chapman 30) Even Afridi is unable to stem the flow. A slower one is flogged over the off side for four by Chapman, who clatters another boundary to the right of mid-off. His wristwork is pretty eyecatching, even when he hits on the off side.
A miserable over for Pakistan concludes with a flashing drive past backward point to the fence. This is carnage. Mitchell and Chapman have added 46 in 25 balls. So much for this being a difficult pitch to start on.
39th over: New Zealand 291-3 (Mitchell 17, Chapman 15) Dumb luck for Hasan Ali, who is edged wide of the keeper for four by Chapman. Those runs tarnish a pretty good over.
“Getting up early on a Saturday is much better than being in charge of the afternoon OBO I guess,” says Krishamoorthy V, who clearly has more love for a 4am alarm than I do. “In the spirit of Liz Truss vs Lettuce , shall we place a tub of ice cream against England this afternoon (in London of course).”
I see they’re chasing again. Their campaign might be a shocker for the ages but they’ve been peerless at winning the toss.
38th over: New Zealand 284-3 (Mitchell 16, Chapman 10) An aggressive move from Babar Azam, who brings back Shaheen Afridi in pursuit of more wickets. That’s Pakistan’s best chance of keeping New Zealand below 350 – but it’s a poor over from Afridi and New Zealand take advantage.
Chapman pulls a short ball for four and clatters a low full toss to the boundary at extra cover. Then Mitchell, a world-class batsman hiding in plain sight, picks the slower ball and launches it over mid-on for a one-bounce four.
37th over: New Zealand 271-3 (Mitchell 12, Chapman 1) The first two balls of Haris Rauf’s spell are put away for four by Mitchell. I can’t tell you what happened because the TV coverage cut abruptly to England v Australia and it took me 30 seconds to find out which channel this game was on.
Poor Haris has gone the distance again today, conceding 59 from seven overs. He never hides and rarely bowls below 90mph unless he wants to, but he’s had a tough tournament. Twelve wickets at 37 isn’t too bad; an economy rate of 6.71 is less than ideal
36th over: New Zealand 261-3 (Mitchell 3, Chapman 0) Ravindra looked gutted when the catch was taken – partly because he thought he’d nailed it for six, partly because he was having so much fun and wanted to continue for another 14 overs. He played beautifully, yet again, to make 108 from 94 balls.
Mark Chapman, a left-hander, is promoted to No5.
A truly joyous innings comes to an end. The ball after walloping Wasim through extra cover for four, again demonstrating his spectacular handspeed, Ravindra plays an extravagant pick-up shot that is taken by Saud Shakeel at backward square leg. I thought it was going for six but that’s a big part of the ground and Shakeel ran round the boundary to take an excellent catch.
35th over: New Zealand 252-2 (Ravindra 101, Mitchell 3) Pakistan appeal for LBW first ball against the new batter Daryl Mitchell. Outside the line.
“Must agree about Rachin,” says Krishnamoorthy V. “Such a stable head on those young shoulders . He is demonstrating that quick scoring need not be unorthodox or ugly. He reminds me so much of a young Michael Owen in his dream World Cup.”
That’s an interesting comparison. Owen was very arrogant, even at 18 – I don’t say that pejoratively, it enabled him to do astonishing things – but like Ravindra his performances were genuinely awesome and he showed such clarity.
I suppose the tale of Owen, who arguably peaked before he won the Ballon d’Or at the age of 21, reminds us that you can take nothing for granted with young players, even those with an otherworldly talent.
Kane Williamson falls while trying to reach his century with a six. He danced down to Iftikhar and lofted the ball towards long off, where Fakhar Zaman ran round the boundary to take an excellent catch.
That’s well bowled by Iftikhar, who has been much better round the wicket in this spell, and the end of a cracking attacking innings from Williamson: 95 from 78 balls with 10 fours and two sixes. He was so close to a third.
34th over: New Zealand 246-1 (Ravindra 100, Williamson 93) Babar Azam makes his sixth bowling change in nine overs, bringing back Mohammad Wasim. The non-striker Williamson survives another run-out chance after backing up too far. He was nowhere near when Salman Ali Agha’s throw missed the stumps.
Ravindra pulls four to move to 99, then swats a hook to reach his third century of the World Cup! It’s been another gorgeous innings: 88 balls, 14 fours, one six. He smiles shyly and raises his bat to the crowd and of course his teammates, who all bounced exultantly to their feet the moment he got the ball away.
This is not normal, nowhere near. At the age of 23, Rachin Ravindra has become the first twentysomething to score three centuries at a men’s World Cup. Watching him bat is such a mind-altering experience that it’s in danger of being made illegal.
33rd over: New Zealand 240-1 (Ravindra 95, Williamson 92) Iftikhar Ahmed returns to the attack. His second ball, from round the wicket, is reverse swept to short third by Williamson. He tries to steal a single and is just home when Iftikhar breaks the stumps. Iftikhar had to reach to his left to fetch the throw; that delay saved Williamson.
32nd over: New Zealand 236-1 (Ravindra 94, Williamson 89) Williamson picks Hasan up for a flat six, then crashes the next ball for four to become New Zealand’s highest World Cup runscorers: 1077, two more than Stephen Fleming.
A no-ball compounds Pakistan misery, and though Hasan keeps the free hit down to two runs, the extra ball is deposited over midwicket for a one-bounce four by Ravindra. Eighteen from the over.
“Kia ora Rob,” writes Graeme Simpson. “At Eden Park, 1992 CWC. The semi-final and in the midst of directing a profile of Martin Crowe in conversation with his brother, Jeff. Deadline? The following Tuesday on TVONE. At lunch, very relaxed… Then, Pakistan just took all our dreams away. They included my boss offering to shout my team a trip to Melbourne for the final, if we won.
“Marty was devastated, but, he handled it with extraordinary dignity. Kind of like how Captain Kane coped with the loss in the final four years ago. The doco finished with the team (some in tears) on a lap of honour, ‘Brothers in Arms’ by Dire Straits as the soundtrack and ending on a freeze frame of Marty waving to the crowd, Fade to Black. Never, ever count the Pakistanis out!”
Heh, fair point, I thought the game was over when an out-of-form unknown called Inzamam-ul-Haq trudged to the crease. But Pakistan really do look done here.
31st over: New Zealand 218-1 (Ravindra 88, Williamson 78) Babar Azam continues to move the deckchairs. Mohammad Wasim, on for Rauf, is cuffed through midwicket for four by Williamson. He has quietly raced to 78 from just 66 balls, his fastest substantial ODI innings since 2015.
In the 48-year history of the World Cup, nobody under the age of 30 has made three centuries in a single tournament. Rachin Ravindra, aged 23 and three quarters, is 12 runs away from doing so.
30th over: New Zealand 211-1 (Ravindra 88, Williamson 71) Hasan Ali, on for Afridi, is belted for boundaries through square leg and other midwicket by Williamson. This is getting ugly for Pakistan.
29th over: New Zealand 200-1 (Ravindra 87, Williamson 61) Sheer delightful batting from Ravindra, who sways back to glide a bouncer from Rauf over the keeper’s head for four.
I’m struggling to recall a more life-affirming World Cup debut, ever. He is a beacon of elegance, charm, humility – and he’s about to stroke his 500th run of the tournament. Only Jonny Bairstow has scored more in his first World Cup.
And there it is! Ravindra moves past 500 runs for the tournament with a spectacular pull for six. It was in the slot but his hand-speed was a thing of beauty.
28th over: New Zealand 187-1 (Ravindra 76, Williamson 60) Pakistan have never been great at chasing massive totals, though their three highest runchases – between 337 and 349 – have all come in the last two years. Maybe the unambiguous nature of the situation – go huge or go home – will liberate them. Fakhar Zaman will be a key man.
Barring something unforseeable, they will be chasing at least 320. A wicket could change things, as it might not be easy to start against the old ball on this pitch. Afridi almost gets it with a terrific yorker that is dug out by Ravindra. Six from the over.
27th over: New Zealand 181-1 (Ravindra 72, Williamson 57) In the first 12 World Cups, from 1975-2019, there were only seven matches in which the captain of a Test-playing nation chose to bowl first and conceded a total of 350+. It has already happened seven times in this tournament, and New Zealand are well set to make it eight.
Haris Rauf returns in place of Iftikhar. Williamson greets him with a majestic cover drive for four, though Rauf’s follow-up is a good one that beats the bat.
26th over: New Zealand 173-1 (Ravindra 71, Williamson 52) Shaheen Shah Afridi is back, and if he can take a quick eight-for you never know. Williamson winces after mistiming a stroke, so maybe his thumb hasn’t fully healed. You wouldn’t know it from the way he’s playing, though: he drives a couple to reach a fine half-century from 49 balls.
25th over: New Zealand 168-1 (Ravindra 70, Williamson 48) If Pakistan do go out today this will probably go down as their most disappointing World Cup since 2007. Their only victories to date have been against Netherlands, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Iftikhar replaces Salman but he gets the same treatment. Williamson hits successive boundaries over extra cover and through midwicket; he looks in fine touch and has sped to 48 from 45 balls. Ravindra makes it an even better over – 15 from it – with a cut that dips just short of backward point and bounces away for four.
24th over: New Zealand 153-1 (Ravindra 65, Williamson 38) Pakistan may be in serious trouble, but Mohammad Wasim is largely beyond reproach. Those five wides aside he has bowled an excellent four-over spell – very straight, with admirable control of line and length
23rd over: New Zealand 150-1 (Ravindra 64, Williamson 37) Salman Ali Agha is not long for this bowling spell. His second has just disappeared for 13, with Williamson driving six over extra cover and Ravindra slog-sweeping for four. Pakistan are in serious trouble here.