Williamson steers Kiwis to impressive warm-up win over Pakistan

Photo: Mark Lockett

Kane Williamson scored an unbeaten 54 in his first innings since March as New Zealand successfully chased down 345 to beat Pakistan in their first ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023 warm-up match.

The Black Caps captain is still recovering from a knee injury and has been ruled out of the opening game of the tournament against England next Thursday. 

However, he gained crucial time in the middle against Pakistan and looked in fine touch in Hyderabad, where Rachin Ravindra, Daryl Mitchell and Mark Chapman also passed 50 in the run chase. 

Batting second was the key to success on the first day of warm-up action, as Bangladesh chased 263 to beat Sri Lanka by seven wickets, while the day’s other scheduled match between Afghanistan and South Africa was abandoned without a ball being bowled.

Black Caps batters in fine touch 

With five wins from their eight ODI matches against New Zealand this year, Pakistan were understandably confident in Hyderabad and made a fabulous start with the bat. 

Despite losing Imam-ul-Haq for just one after the opener misjudged the seam movement from a Matt Henry delivery, Pakistan made quick progress thanks to a 114-run third-wicket partnership between captain Babar Azam and wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan. 

Babar was the more controlled of the pair but still went along at just under a run-a-ball, his 10 boundaries – including two sixes – helping him to 80 off 84 before he holed out off Mitchell Santner. 

Rizwan, who looked in fine touch during the Asia Cup where he three half-centuries, continued that form with an excellent 103 from 94 deliveries. 

They were well supported by Saud Shakeel’s 53-ball 75 that featured four sixes, and Agha Salman’s unbeaten 33, as Pakistan finished on 345 for five. 

New Zealand made a slow start, with opening batter Devon Conway chipping his first ball to square leg, but they made an impressive recovery as Ravindra and Williamson put on 179 for the second wicket. 

Williamson, who did not field as he continues to work his way back to fitness, retired on 54, while the next man in, Mitchell, followed suit and retired after a half-century – his 57-ball 59 featuring five boundaries. 

Ravindra was the glue of the star of the innings, as his brisk 97 – coming off just 72 deliveries – featured 16 fours, while Mark Chapman’s unbeaten 65 saw them over the line. 

Bangladesh chase Sri Lanka target 

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka met twice in the Asia Cup this month, with the Lions emerging with the spoils on both occasions. 

Their third meeting in less than a month came in Guwahati and the 1996 champions elected to bat after winning the toss, which initially appeared to be the right call.

A century-strong opening partnership between Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera made for a promising start, with Nissanka striking nine boundaries in his 64-ball 68 and Perera hitting six fours. 

Perera appeared well-set for a big score but his day took a frustrating turn when he hurt his shoulder at the beginning of the 10th over and was forced to retire hurt, leaving head coach Chris Silverwood sweating on his fitness ahead of their opening game against South Africa on October 7. 

He was replaced by Kusal Mendis but the number three was the first wicket to fall, caught by Najmul Hossain off Nasum Ahmed for 22. 

Sri Lanka lost two more batters before the halfway stage of their innings – including Nissanka for 68 – as Bangladesh strengthened their foothold in the match.  

The Tigers were on top for the rest of the innings, with only Dhananjaya de Silva contributing a score of any note, the No.6 weighing in with a watchful 55 from 79 balls. 

Sri Lanka were all out for 263 from 49.1 overs, setting Bangladesh a reachable target which their openers quickly whittled down. 

Liton Das played positively and hit 10 fours in a fluent 61 before he lost his wicket with the score at 131 for one, but Bangladesh did not wobble.  

Captain Mehidy Hasan Miraz anchored the run chase with a steady 67 not out, while Das’ fellow opener Tanzid Hasan top-scored with 84 as they comfortably knocked off the runs with eight overs to spare. 

Wet weather in Thiruvananthapuram

No play was possible between Afghanistan and South Africa, as rain caused their match to be abandoned before a ball was bowled.

Afghanistan play Sri Lanka on Tuesday, while South Africa face New Zealand.

Scores in Brief 

Bangladesh beat Sri Lanka at the Barsapara Cricket Stadium, Guwahati, by seven wickets 

Sri Lanka 263 all out in 49.1 overs (Pathum Nissanka 68, Dhananjaya de Silva 55; Mahedi Hasan 3/36, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 1/32) 

Bangladesh 264/3 in 42 overs (Tanzid Hasan 84, Mehidy Hasan Miraz 67 not out; Lahiru Kumara 1/30, Dushan Hemantha 1/45) 

New Zealand beat Pakistan at the Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium, Hyderabad, by five wickets 

Pakistan 345/5 in 50 overs (Mohammad Rizwan 103, BabarAzam 80; Mitchell Santner 2/30, Matt Henry 1/8) 

New Zealand 346/5 (Rachin Ravindra 97, Mark Chapman 65 not out; Usama Mir 2/68, Mohammad Wasim 1/58) 

Afghanistan v South Africa at Greenfield International Stadium, Thiruvananthapuram – match abandoned

© ICC 2023

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