Babar Azam produced a sublime unbeaten century under pressure as Pakistan continued its revival in the World Cup by halting New Zealand's unbeaten run with a six-wicket victory, here Wednesday.
Chasing 238 on a tricky Edgbaston pitch which offered vicious turn, Azam (101) and Sohail (68) showed intent, temperament and resolve while batting in Pakistan's must-win game.
They raised a 126-run stand for the fourth wicket after Mohammed Hafeez's dismissal off a part-time spinner, yet again, raised eyebrows and Mitchell Santner looked almost unplayable.
The situation demanded restraint and Hafeez was set but he threw away his wicket while trying to attack Kane Williamson.
This was after Fakhar Zaman (9) was done in by Trent Boult and Imam-ul-Haq (19) became a victim of Lockie Ferguson.
Taking the attack by the scruff of its neck, Azam shifted the gears after completing his half-century and hit some glorious shots off Williamson and Boult to keep the required run-rate under check.
The 24-year-old completed his century, 10th in ODIs, with a single of Lockie Ferguson off. His knock, coming off 127 balls, was embellished with 11 shots to the fence.
Shoaib has a word of praise for Pakistan
Match winning inning from Babar Azam. Brilliant display of talent by Haris Sohail. What a class act he is turning out to be.
Shaheen Afridi bowled with pace & aggression.
Pakistan Zindabad. One step closer to the dream. #PAKvNZ #CWC19
— Shoaib Akhtar (@shoaib100mph) June 26, 2019
What a player!
What a player this Babar Azam is. Still coming of age and already, by some distance, Pakistan's best batsman. And the selection of Haris Sohail is a game-changer. — Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 26, 2019
When Babar completed his century
— Cricket World Cup (@cricketworldcup) June 26, 2019
Importance of the knock
Even Kane Williamson is impressed
Kane Williamson "Babar Azam and Haris Sohail played beautifully and took the match away from us" #NZvPAK
— Saj Sadiq (@Saj_PakPassion) June 26, 2019
With inputs from PTI