“They played exceptionally well,” Williamson said on the host broadcast after the game, “and they gave themselves every chance, and at the end of the day, they got across the line. I suppose having the match shortened brings both teams a bit closer together when you’re chasing 400, but they played exceptionally well. They were certainly on target with their chase.
“It would have been nice for the full 50 [overs], but having said that, there are absolutely things we want to touch on. It was really tricky to shut down that short side [boundary], Zaman exploited that beautifully in that partnership with Babar as well. So full credit, they deserve their result today and for us, it’s moving on quickly and facing our next challenge.”
That challenge, for both sides, is to win their final league-stage game. They are both on four wins from eight games, and will hope to get to ten points and have a shot at making the semi-finals.
Babar was aware of the short boundary, the pitch favouring batters, and the weather around. As a result, he wasn’t perturbed by the early loss of Abdullah Shafique as he walked out at 6 for 1 after two overs. His message for Fakhar was to play himself in for 15 overs and set the stage alight after that, which he did.
“I just asked Fakhar, ‘if you play 15 overs, we are ahead’,” Babar said. “Back of the mind, we knew that the rain was coming, but unfortunately, the rain was too much, [we were] not expecting that much of rain. We just planned to build a partnership, I just tried to [hand over the] strike to Fakhar because he [seemed like he] was playing on a different pitch. We know we have a short boundary and we utilised it.”
Fakhar peppered the short boundary in his 126 not out, which included eight fours and 11 sixes. The big hits, along with the challenges offered by bowling to a left-right duo, left too much for Williamson, and New Zealand, to do.
“If you get a wicket or two, you’re able to take the short side out of it, in terms of left-and-right combination, and things can change quickly,” Williamson said. “But we weren’t able to do that today and Pakistan exploited that to the max and deserved the win.”