Despite McConkey’s record in 3rd ODI, Pakistan beat New Zealand, seal series. Cricket

Pakistan’s top-order batsmen continued to find success as they beat low-powered New Zealand by 26 runs in the third one-day international to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Pakistan’s Babar Azam, left, and teammates celebrate after winning the 3rd One Day International cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand in Karachi, Pakistan, Wednesday, May 3, 2023. (AP Photo/Farid Khan) (AP)

Opener Imam-ul-Haq scored 90 off 107 balls and captain Babar Azam made 54 as the home side posted a total of 287/6 after losing the toss and asking to bat first.

A late counter-attack from Cole McConkey (64 not out) saw the 31-year-old smash New Zealand’s fastest half-century on ODI debut, off 36 balls, before the Kiwis were bowled out for 261 in the final over to lose their first ODI series against . Pakistan since 2011

After being named player of the match, Imam said, “We knew these wickets would not be the same as the wickets in Rawalpindi, so it was important to show respect.” “We knew it was a 280-290 track. We were looking for 260 but my partnership with Babar helped us get a good position.”

Pakistan chased down two big totals in the first two ODIs in Rawalpindi, including their second highest successful chase in ODIs of 337 in the second game.

New Zealand got off to a solid start to keep the series alive when Tom Blundell (65), playing his first match of the series, and Will Young (33) put on 83 for the opening wicket. But Pakistan’s spinners Shadab Khan and Mohammad Nawaz rattled the middle order after Young was run out in the 16th over, before Blundell was also run out for the second run along with captain Tom Latham.

Daryl Mitchell, who scored centuries in the first two matches, made two lucky saves before he was dismissed in the deep for 21, and Mark Chapman, who starred for New Zealand ahead of the 2-2 drawn T20I series against Pakistan Thee, Thee Naseem Shah was clean bowled by scoring 13 runs.

Left-arm spinner Nawaz, who was unable to score in the middle overs, injured his left index finger when he tried to catch Mitchell’s return and was taken to the hospital.

Part-time off-spinner Agha Salman compensated for Nawaz’s absence, taking 1-42 from his nine overs, with the spinners getting a lot of help from the wicket at the National Stadium.

Pacer Mohammad Wasim (2-50), one of three changes made by Pakistan from the previous game, was clean bowled by Latham as the Black Caps skipper attempted a ramp shot, exposing his stumps.

McConkey struggled against the spinners before taking charge in the last 10 overs against the pace as he hit two sixes and six fours and brought up his half-century with a big six over mid-wicket against Shaheen Shah Afridi (2-53).

“At the halfway point, we were happy and the bowlers definitely improved after the first two games,” Latham said. He said, ‘We started really well from a batting point of view. After losing a few wickets, we could not continue that momentum. When you are chasing a score like this, you need back-to-back partnerships.

Earlier, Imam and Babar shared a 108-run partnership for the second wicket after Fakhar Zaman fell to Matt Henry (3-54). Two back-to-back centuries from Fakhar had given Pakistan victory in Rawalpindi before he played across the line and was caught by wicket-keeper Blundell.

Henry also broke a century-stand when Babar, who scored his eighth 50-plus score in the last 11 ODIs, played the pacer back onto his stumps while going for an off-drive. Imam showed great composure but fell in similar fashion when Adam Milne (2-56) struck in his comeback spell and Pakistan lost momentum in the death overs.

Mohammad Rizwan made 32 off 34 balls, before he was caught by McConkey on a full toss from Milne, before Shadab Khan made 21 off 10 balls and provided the perfect finish by hitting Henry for a last-ball six.

Karachi will host the remaining ODIs on Friday and Sunday as New Zealand wrap up their white-ball tour.

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