Azhar, Fakhar hit tons in crushing win for Pakistan
NELSON: Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali both scored centuries as Pakistan cruised to a 120-run victory over New Zealand XI in their one-day tour match at the Saxton Oval . The left-handed Fakhar pounded 106 from 84 balls and Azhar made 104 from 105 balls in a 206-run opening partnership in 29 overs before retired out in the only warm-up fixture for the tourists before they face New Zealand in the first of five One-day Internationals in Wellington on Saturday. Fakhar took an instant like for New Zealand conditions as the left-hander hit 12 fours and three sixes against a medium-paced attack of James Baker, Michael Rae and Matt McEwan, while Azhar struck eight fours and one six during his innings. Pakistan looked set to top 400 until former Test off-spinner Mark Craig applied the brakes, trapping Babar Azam lbw for six, and removing veteran Shoaib Malik for one. Craig was the pick of the bowlers, snaring 2-51, while fellow spinner Aniket Parikh had the most success but was also expensive, ending with 3-74 off his 10 overs. Hasan Ali, the world’s top-ranked ODI bowler after his dream year in 2017, also showed he could hit by blasting four sixes in his 36 off 15 balls. Pakistan are down on bowlers with Usman Khan Shinwari, Junaid Khan and Imad Wasim all ruled out with injuries, but still boast an impressive attack spearheaded by left-armer Mohammad Amir. They bowled tight lines, the fielders chased and dived with intent and they were too good for the NZ XI containing some first-class experience. Michael Davidson (54 off 81 balls) was the top scorer before he was bowled by Hasan. Fahim Ashraf was too quick and bouncy for openers Ben Beecroft and Jack Boyle while 19-year-old leg-spinner Shadab Khan, fresh from the Big Bash with Brisbane Heat, was tidy without gaining significant turn. Shadab ended with 4-52 off 9.1 overs.