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Pakistan vs New Zealand | We are Taking it One Match at a Time & Have the Belief: Azam

AFP |June 27, 2019, 2:51 AM IST
Pakistan vs New Zealand | We are Taking it One Match at a Time & Have the Belief: Azam

Babar Azam says Pakistan have the belief that they can win their remaining games to complete a dramatic turnaround and reach the World Cup semi-finals following a victory against a strong New Zealand side on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old hit a match-winning unbeaten 101 to anchor Pakistan's reply to New Zealand's score of 237 for six at Edgbaston. Captain Sarfaraz Ahmed hit the winning runs in the final over as they finished on 241 for 4 to win by six wickets.

"Belief has been the key," said Azam, who reached his 10th one-day international hundred off 124 balls with 11 fours. "We have the belief that we will win our next two games and then look ahead."

Pakistan had a disastrous start to their World Cup campaign, losing three of their first five matches with a single victory, against England, and a no-result.

But Sunday's win over South Africa at Lord's and Wednesday's victory in Birmingham have revived their hopes of pulling off a sensational comeback.

Their next game is on Saturday against Afghanistan, who have lost all seven of their matches at the tournament in England and Wales and they finish their group fixtures against Bangladesh, who are level with Pakistan on seven points.

"We were not winning matches but we talked to each other and had the belief that we could do it and now our focus is on the next game," Azam said.

"We performed well in the last match as well and carried that form in this match. Our bowling also started very well. Shaheen Shah and Wahab Riaz bowled very well. Everyone contributed both with bat and ball. Imam played well, then Hafeez and I batted well and then Haris Sohail. Everyone contributed to the win."

Azam though said even when the team was struggling earlier in the tournament, they were confident they could turn their fortunes around. Now that they have a good chance of making it through he said that Pakistan were taking it match by match and not getting too ahead of themselves.

"We're taking it match by match and not thinking about the end. We're focused on the next game and then we focus on Bangladesh," he remarked.

Azam said his role had been to bat until the end of the innings. He further emphasised that having gotten out after getting starts has been frustrating so it was important, he converted this one into a substantial score.

"I was given a role to bat until the end and others bat around me and that worked well as (Mohammad) Hafeez and then Haris (Sohail) batted well to establish partnerships," said Azam.

"It was in my mind as well because I wasn't finishing matches and it was important I take the match to the end."

Eight of ten centuries scored by Azam in ODIs have come in winning cause for Pakistan. But this ton against New Zealand is one that Azam regarded as the best of the lot. He said his target is to become the best batsman in the world.

"I can say that this is one of my best knocks because it was very important for the team to win this game. The surface was also pretty tricky and to score a ton here gives me double the pleasure," said Azam.

"My target is to become the best batsman in the world."

Cricket World Cup Points Table

9 7 1 1 15 +0.80
9 7 2 0 14 +0.86
9 6 3 0 12 +1.15
9 5 3 1 11 +0.17
9 5 3 1 11 -0.43
9 3 4 2 8 -0.91
9 3 5 1 7 -0.03
9 3 5 1 7 -0.41
9 2 6 1 5 -0.22
9 0 9 0 0 -1.32

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 3631 113
2 New Zealand 2547 111
3 South Africa 2917 108
4 England 3663 105
5 Australia 2640 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6420 123
2 India 6807 122
3 New Zealand 4763 113
4 Australia 5470 112
5 South Africa 5193 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 7365 283
2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
4 Australia 5471 261
5 India 7273 260
see more