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"Fabulous Fakhar"

(Arif Jameel, Lahore)

Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman & Kane Williamson

"Fabulous Fakhar."
Written By Arif Jameel
Translated In English: Amel Aamer

On 4thNov.2023, The Cricket World Cup 2023, 35th Match between Pakistan & New Zealand, the cricket world witnessed what can only be described as "Fabulous Fakhar." A quote that aptly sums up the sentiment of the day: "Fakhar" is truly "Fakhar." New Zealand's captain, Kane Williamson, acknowledged after their defeat under the DLS method that the pivotal factor in the match was the exceptional performance of Fakhar Zaman. Kane Williamson, who had recently recovered from a thumb injury, reassumed leadership in this match. When asked about his team's approach, he emphasized their intent to dominate matches with their style of play, irrespective of the pitch conditions. The result certainly validated this approach, as New Zealand posted an astonishing 401 runs on a pitch where scoring 275 runs seemed like a significant achievement. The key question was how Pakistan would respond in their pursuit of this formidable target, and Fakhar Zaman demonstrated that playing with flair and determination could indeed turn the tide of a match.

In light of Pakistan's performance and the daunting target of 402 runs, the post-match analysis was rife with familiar themes: questions about team selection, frustration, and shortcomings. For instance, Pakistan's captain, Babar Azam, received criticism for choosing to field first on a batting-friendly pitch after winning the toss. Pakistan's bowlers struggled to maintain the right line and length against the New Zealand batsmen, who managed to counter both swing and spin effectively.

Pakistan's opener, Abdullah Shafiq, faced an early dismissal, setting the stage for Fakhar Zaman to take center stage. Pakistan's cricket legend, Mohammad Hafeez, aptly described Fakhar Zaman's performance as "Crushing the Bat" as he relentlessly attacked the New Zealand bowlers. Fakhar Zaman's brilliant and aggressive batting led him to his 11th century in one-day international cricket, marked by 9 sixes and 6 fours in just 63 balls. This century was the fastest ever by a Pakistani in the World Cup. He concluded the match with an unbeaten 126 runs off 81 balls, featuring 8 fours and a record-breaking 11 sixes in the current World Cup. Fakhar Zaman was rightfully named the Man of the Match. Additionally, he became the second batsman in this event to score a century in just 19.2 overs, following India's captain, Rohit Sharma, who achieved this feat against Afghanistan in 17.2 overs. This incredible inning was reminiscent of Fakhar Zaman's performance in the ICC Champions Trophy 2017 final, where his aggressive century paved the way for Pakistan's success, earning him the Man of the Match accolade.

Fakhar Zaman's outstanding performance provided Pakistan with a crucial "lifeline" to remain in contention for the semi-finals. Following this match, New Zealand held the fourth spot on the table with 8 points after losing four consecutive matches, while Pakistan stood at fifth place with 8 points and a positive average for the first time. Both teams have one match remaining, with New Zealand facing Sri Lanka and Pakistan taking on England. Notably, Afghanistan, in sixth place with 8 points, remains in the semi-final race, with two matches against Australia and South Africa yet to be played.

Duckworth-Lewis (DLS) Method:
Rain was anticipated before this pivotal Pakistan vs. New Zealand match. Consequently, the rain temporarily halted just before Pakistan's batting innings commenced. However, when Pakistan reached 160 runs with one player dismissed, the rain returned, causing a halt in the 21st over. At that point, according to the DLS method, Pakistan was 10 runs ahead in the pursuit of victory. After the rain ceased and the ground was prepared, the match resumed with a slight delay, and Pakistan was set a target of 342 runs in 41 overs under the Duckworth Lewis (DLS) method, with 182 runs required from the remaining 20 overs. This provided Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam with a lifeline, which they grasped by maintaining their partnership. When the score reached 200 runs, rain interrupted the match once more. At this stage, Pakistan was ahead by 21 runs under the DLS method. With the match becoming increasingly challenging to continue, Pakistan was ultimately declared the winner under the Duckworth Lewis (DLS) method, thus securing a thrilling victory.

Arif Jameel
About the Author: Arif Jameel Read More Articles by Arif Jameel: 204 Articles with 299791 views Post Graduation in Economics and Islamic St. from University of Punjab. Diploma in American History and Education Training.Job in past on good positio.. View More