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New Zealand wants to win its last game in Karachi before it starts to focus on India.



New Zealand Vs Pakistan

This series has moved quickly, so there hasn’t been much time to think or change, but New Zealand seemed to have gotten used to the Karachi surface very well. In the first ODI, they were given the chance to bat, but they didn’t do as well as they should have. Then, as the evening got cooler and drier, they realized that they had forgotten Ish Sodhi.

Just 36 hours after Pakistan got the winning runs, Kane Williamson went back out to the toss and, when the coin landed on his side, chose to bat first again. (Babar Azam would say he would have done the same thing, but it’s hard to know how much he would have changed what worked.) Williamson and Devon Conway knew that the best time to bat was in the afternoon, so they scored a total of 181 runs. This put New Zealand so far ahead that it didn’t matter when they lost at the end.

Since the pitch was changing and New Zealand brought back Sodhi, the seamers could only bowl for 13 overs. Early on, they used seam and swing, but after Mitchell Santner came in for the ninth over, seam was used for only five more overs. On a surface that now stuck, skidded, stopped, and turned, no Pakistan batter looked really comfortable except for Babar the whole time, and Pakistan was bowled out for 182. New Zealand had only lost one wicket when they were on 182.

Since the 2019 World Cup, this was New Zealand’s best ODI win. They beat a team that was trying to become number one, and it happened in the same year as the World Cup. New Zealand has a record of 17 wins and 6 losses in this World Cup cycle. However, many of their wins have been against teams that look much weaker on paper. Their ODI wins in Dublin, Edinburgh, and Bridgetown, all outside of New Zealand, have made this point even more clear. (However, they didn’t find anything in Sydney or Cairns.)

Karachi is a notable addition to the list in a year when the World Cup will be held across the border. This is especially true since New Zealand will take a chartered flight to Hyderabad on Saturday to start a white-ball tour of India. They might not like spin quite as much there, since spinners in India have been more expensive than in any other country except Australia this World Cup cycle, but their all-around skills should give them a lot of options with the ball.

These two sides are similar in a lot of ways. Pakistan, like New Zealand, has been doing well in ODIs lately. This is because they have been playing a lot of games at home and, for the most part, against easy teams. They have a lot of fast bowlers to choose from, but in these two ODIs, Lockie Ferguson has been the quickest. Usama Mir’s first ODIs have gone very well. He has shown that he can both defend and attack, and Mohammad Nawaz is more than able to cancel out Santner.

Babar Azam and Kane Williamson
If the conditions for the deciding ODI are the same as for the ones that came before it, the toss will always be more important.

New Zealand is likely to have just as much trouble chasing on these pitches because their batting order is heavy at the top and their middle order can only do one thing and isn’t very good at it. Since July 2019, the most runs have been scored by Pakistan’s top three batsmen and New Zealand’s top three batsmen. Both teams’ last eight batsmen have scored less than half of their runs in ODIs (34% and 47%, respectively). On Wednesday, as the asking rate kept going up and wickets kept falling, it was interesting that Pakistan didn’t have anyone lower down the order who could have made a quick cameo to relieve the pressure. Even Agha Salman, who was the only batter in the top seven to get close to a strike rate of 70, hit 25 runs in 22 balls with sweeps and smart placement instead of the hard hitting that Pakistan needed at that point.

It’s even harder to understand why Khushdil Shah wasn’t on a list of likely players that seemed to grow every day during Shahid Afridi’s first few days as coach. Since the beginning of last year, Shadab Khan, who has been hurt, has been the only middle-order Pakistani batter with a better strike rate than his 102.46. Even though Khushdil keeps taking risks, he is always the same person. He has never been out for less than 19 runs in any of his six innings, and in two cameos, he helped Australia and West Indies win games.

But if the final ODI is played in the same way as the others, the toss will be even more important. Mohammad Nawaz mentioned this after his team lost on Wednesday.

“You’ll have seen the ball turn and bounce a lot more in the second innings,” he said. “You can’t blame the flip of a coin for how the pitch changed, but it did. The toss is a big deal.”

Pakistan will hope that, as their hard home international season comes to an end, they can learn as much from that loss as New Zealand did from theirs.

On the other hand, New Zealand might just be getting started. After one more match in Karachi, which they seem to know pretty well, they will move on to India, where they will probably stay until November.

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1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli’s Cricket Legacy



1000 Runs in ODIs: Kohli's Cricket Legacy

On Thursday, November 2, Virat Kohli achieved an accomplishment. He became the batsman to surpass 1000 runs in ODIs in 2023, following in the footsteps of Shubman Gill and Rohit Sharma. Not that,. He also joined Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, and Pathum Nissanka as the fourth players to achieve this impressive record in the 50-over format within the same year.

Stepping into History with 1000 Runs in ODIs

Virat Kohli celebrating 1000 Runs in ODIs with a jump on the field

Entering the realm of history, Kohli’s unwavering determination and exceptional skills were put on display during his match in 2023. Notably, the cricket maestro, now 34 years old, made an indelible impact by surpassing Sachin Tendulkar‘s record, securing the most number of years with 1000 runs in ODIs. Kohli’s consistent ability to perform at such an exceptional level has been a defining characteristic of his illustrious career, as he had previously achieved this monumental milestone in 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2017, 2018, and 2019, before accomplishing it once again in the present year of 2023.

An Unforgettable Journey

In an intense World Cup 2023 clash against Sri Lanka at the renowned Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai, Virat Kohli’s pursuit of this historic milestone was realized with an impressive 34 runs. Despite facing challenges, including a rare duck against England at the Ekana Stadium in Lucknow, his overall performance throughout the year has been nothing short of spectacular.

Kohli’s memorable journey was highlighted by an unbeaten century during India’s triumphant seven-wicket victory against Bangladesh at the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Stadium in Pune. Adding to his illustrious record, he solidified his stature with a brilliant 95 runs, making a significant contribution to India’s thrilling four-wicket win over New Zealand led by Tom Latham at the Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association (HPCA) Stadium in Pune.

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Shaheen Shah Afridi: Fastest to 100 ODI Wickets



Shah Afridi celebrating a wicket

Shaheen Shah Afridi, on Tuesday, October 31, achieved a remarkable feat, becoming the third fastest bowler to secure 100 wickets in ODIs. His outstanding performance during Pakistan’s World Cup 2023 match against Bangladesh at the renowned Eden Gardens in Kolkata led to this historic accomplishment.

A Landmark Moment

In the thrilling encounter, Shaheen clinched his 100th wicket in only his 51st match, dismissing Tigers’ opening batter Tanzid Hasan Tamim. The left-arm fast bowler displayed exceptional skill as he struck Tamim on the pads, prompting the on-field umpire to raise his finger. Despite Tamim’s referral to the third umpire using the Decision Review System (DRS), the replays confirmed the ball crashing into the stumps, upholding the on-field decision. Bangladesh lost their first wicket with the scoreboard reading 0 in just 0.5 overs.

Surpassing Preceding Records

Shaheen Shah Afridi not only secured this feat in record time but also outshone the accomplishments of esteemed bowlers preceding him. He surpassed the record of the fastest pacer, previously held by Mitchell Starc, who attained the milestone in August 2016 during an ODI against Sri Lanka at the R. Premadasa Stadium in Colombo.

Legacy of Excellence

Moreover, Shaheen shattered the long-standing record held by Saqlain Mushtaq, becoming the fastest Pakistani bowler to claim 100 wickets in ODIs. Saqlain had set this record on May 12, 1997, during an ODI against Sri Lanka in Gwalior. It is notable that among the Pakistani fast bowlers, the accomplished Shaheen Shah Afridi follows in the footsteps of the legendary Waqar Younis, who achieved the 100-wicket mark back in February 1993 against Zimbabwe in Sharjah.

Beyond ODIs

Demonstrating his prowess beyond ODIs, Shaheen has made significant contributions in Tests and T20Is as well. Since his debut in 2018, he has garnered 105 wickets in Tests and 64 wickets in T20Is. His exceptional journey began with a strong performance in the U19 World Cup in New Zealand. Notably, he played a pivotal role in Lahore Qalandars’ consecutive victories in the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

A Testament to Talent and Dedication

Shaheen Shah Afridi’s rapid rise to 100 ODI wickets within 51 matches underlines his exceptional talent and unwavering dedication to the sport. As he continues to leave an indelible mark on the cricketing world, his journey serves as an inspiration for aspiring cricketers worldwide. With his remarkable achievements, Afridi has solidified his place in the annals of cricket history, etching his name as one of Pakistan’s most formidable and promising fast bowlers.

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ICC World Cup: Shoaib Akhtar says, ‘Mai India ki tareef kyu na karu’



Shoaib Akhtar, former Pakistani fast bowler

Former Pakistan fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar has recently expressed admiration for India’s dominant performance in the ongoing 2023 ICC World Cup. With India securing victories in all six matches, Akhtar highlighted the team’s exceptional display across various aspects of the game. Although the recent batting performance against England in Lucknow was relatively modest, India’s fierce bowling attack, led by Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah, proved instrumental in securing a remarkable win. This triumph not only solidified India’s leading position on the points table but also exacerbated England’s struggles in the tournament, leaving them virtually eliminated.

Virat Kohli, Rohit Sharma, and Jasprit Bumrah laughing together on the field

India’s Remarkable Bowling Transformation

In his analysis, Akhtar emphasized the transformative impact of Shami’s inclusion in India’s playing eleven following Hardik Pandya’s injury. Acknowledging Shami’s outstanding performances against New Zealand and England, Akhtar credited India’s ability to win matches through their bowling prowess, showcasing a shift from their traditional reliance on batting strength. He commended the collective effort of the Indian bowling unit, particularly recognizing the strategic brilliance of fast bowler Bumrah.

The Indian cricket team is standing for the national anthem at the ICC World Cup

India’s Path to World Cup Glory

Looking ahead, Akhtar voiced his confidence in India’s potential to secure their third ODI World Cup trophy, highlighting the team’s upcoming matches against Sri Lanka, South Africa, and the Netherlands. Expressing optimism, he emphasized the significance of maintaining their unbeaten streak en route to the final, setting the stage for a potential historic ICC World Cup victory. However, Akhtar cautioned against compromising the successful bowling unit once Pandya returns to full fitness, warning against the potential detriment of a partially fit Pandya’s inclusion at the expense of a bowler.

Akhtar’s Praise for India and its Response to Criticism

Addressing skepticism surrounding his praise for the Indian team, Akhtar reiterated the exceptional nature of India’s performance, particularly in their ability to defend a modest total with a significant margin of victory. Undeterred by criticism, Akhtar reaffirmed his admiration for India’s exceptional cricketing prowess, urging acknowledgment and appreciation of their commendable achievements.

Virat Kohli gives a hand gesture on the field during a match

Shoaib Akhtar’s Perspective on Virat Kohli

Shifting focus, Akhtar’s history of praise extends beyond team performances to individual players, notably including former Indian team captain Virat Kohli. Reminiscing on Kohli’s resilience during a challenging phase in his career, Akhtar highlighted the pivotal role played by Kohli’s consistent century-scoring performances, leading to India’s victories. Recognizing Kohli’s contribution to the team’s success, Akhtar emphasized the significance of Kohli’s monumental centuries during crucial chases, solidifying his status as a crucial asset for the Indian cricket team.

In a comparison between Kohli and the legendary Sachin Tendulkar, Akhtar acknowledged Tendulkar’s status as one of the greatest batsmen while highlighting the challenges Tendulkar faced as a captain. Drawing parallels, Akhtar expressed confidence in Kohli’s eventual resurgence, expecting him to return to his prolific scoring form once he finds his equilibrium.

In summary, Akhtar’s acknowledgment of India’s exceptional performance and his recognition of individual players’ contributions underscore the team’s formidable presence in the 2023 ICC World Cup, setting the stage for a potential historic triumph in the coming days.

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