Pakistan surprises again with 6-wicket win over New Zealand
BIRMINGHAM, England (AP) — Pakistan maintained its reputation as the most unpredictable team in international cricket with a stunning six-wicket victory that kept its World Cup semifinal hopes alive, ruined New Zealand's perfect record and heaped more pressure on host England.
Babar Azam hit his 10th ODI century, finishing 101 not out off 127 balls, as Pakistan reached 241-4 in 49.1 overs in reply to New Zealand's 237-6.
Every boundary — 11 of them from Babar — produced a huge roar and a sea of green flags in the stands as an overwhelmingly Pakistan-supporting crowd had a day to remember at Edgbaston.
Babar shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 126 with Haris Sohail, who was run out for a 76-ball 68 after hitting five fours and two sixes. Babar also put on 66 for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez (32)
Pakistan moved level on seven points with Bangladesh, one point behind fourth-place England, which has lost its last two games. The top four in the 10-team standings advance to the semifinals.
New Zealand is second with 11 points and wasted a chance to secure its place in the last four. It now has difficult games left against defending champion Australia and wounded England. It was the Black Caps' first loss after five wins and a no result.
The New Zealanders chased down South Africa's 241-6 on the same Edgbaston wicket earlier in the tournament. Pakistan, which is not seen as a run-chasing specialist in this format, also went to the last over on Wednesday but on this occasion it was much more comfortable.