Kane Williamson plays a shot during a warm-up match at the Rajiv Gandhi Cricket Stadium in Hyderabad on Friday night. AFP
Rachin Ravindra and returning Kane Williamson played key knocks as New Zealand chased down 345 to thrash Pakistan by five wickets in a World Cup warm-up match on Friday.
Chasing 346 for victory, New Zealand lost an early wicket before Ravindra (97) and Williamson (54) put on 137 to put their team on course and they achieved the target with 6.2 overs to spare in Hyderabad.
Mohammed Rizwan hit 103 and Babar Azam made 80 in Pakistan's 345-5 after electing to bat first but the Kiwi batsmen made the total look easy against an attack missing pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi. Williamson, who returned from a six-month lay-off due to his knee injury and played the match only as a batsman, looked impressive in his 50-ball stay before he retired out.
Mohammad Rizwan plays a shot during a warm-up match ahead of the ICC Men's World Cup in Hyderabad on Friday. AFP
"It held up pretty good," Williamson, who will miss the tournament opener against England on October 5, said about his knee after the win.
"Little bit of icing after that (knock). But that's part of the process. Fortunate with that recovery and being named in the squad was exciting to me." Ravindra smashed the opposition bowlers to all parts of the ground as he hit 16 fours and one six but was denied a century by Agha Salman.
Pakistan spinner Usama Mir struck twice in the space of his two overs but Daryl Mitchell made 59 to keep the chase on track. Left-hand batsmen Mark Chapman, who hit the winning six in his unbeaten 65, and James Neesham, who made 33, put on a partnership of 68 as New Zealand reached the target in 43.4 overs.
Earlier Azam hit eight fours and two sixes before he fell to Mitchell Santner but Rizwan stayed on to complete his century in another key stand with Saud Shakeel, who made 75. Rizwan struck nine fours and two sixes in his 94-ball innings and said: A "hundred is hundred in any conditions. I feel proud and satisfied."
The match, which along with other warm-ups was not an official one-day match, was played in an empty stadium due to security issues.
The 28-year-old smashed a 57-ball 104 in a rearguard action to lift New Zealand from a precarious 73-4 to chase down a stiff target of 194 with four balls to spare.
The final match of the series marks Pakistan skipper Babar Azam's 100th ODI in a glorious career which began in 2015.
The 28-year-old crosses his milestone in just 97 innings, and breaks S.Africa Hashim Amla's record of 101 innings. Babar also becomes 14th Pakistani to score 5,000 runs in ODI cricket, with ex-captain Inzamam at the top of the list with 11,701 runs.
Marri appreciated the efforts made by the members of the national team in preparation for the Asian Championships and extended his thanks to the federation’s Board of Directors.
The Green Shirts won the first two matches against the Kiwis by 7 wickets and 10 runs, respectively, becoming the first Asian team to win the T20 series in New Zealand. The Nida Dar-led side lost the third match by just six runs via the DLS method.
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