Galactic Symmetry
60 Years Later ...

Gearing up for the World Cup

After a somewhat off-colour performance where Pakistan allowed New Zealand to get close to them, this was back to business for the hosts. A century from Babar Azam - his 18th in ODIs - helped Pakistan post an intimidating 334 for 6 after being put in to bat.

It was then up to the bowlers, who were at their ruthless best, to shut New Zealand out. The game as a contest was over well before the final wicket fell and New Zealand folded for 232, putting Pakistan up 4-0 in the five-match series and at the top of the ICC rankings for ODI teams in the process.

The Kiwis fought well in the T20I series. They were down 2-0 but finished with two strong wins but, now, they can't even get close in the ODI series. A 100+ run defeat is quite the thrashing.

Wasim and Shaheen remedied, plundering 38 off the final two overs, also making compelling cases to bat higher up. The four sixes and two fours between them meant they had done enough to break New Zealand's spirits. In reality, Pakistan's bowling demonstrated the Afridi-Wasim cameos merely added flourish to what was a near-guaranteed victory anyway.

What? The author mixed up the two Mohammads. It wasn't Mohammad Wasim but Mohammad Haris who was part of the duo.

Anyway, the World Cup stage is set for the top four teams who are practically equal. Pakistan has 113 points whereas the World Champions are ranked as fourth best with "only" 111 points. I expect to see them -- Pakistan, India, Australia, and England -- in the semi-finals. The Kiwis are, of course, the dark horse.


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