KARACHI: New Zealand have won just two of their seven World Cup encounters against Pakistan but those victories were separated by nearly 28 years.
New Zealand’s first-ever game against Pakistan was during the double round-robin mega event in 1983 when England hosted the competition. In a rain-marred fixture at Edgbaston, New Zealand posted 238-9 in 60 overs, having been overnight 211-8 from 56 overs.
Leg-spinner Abdul Qadir marked his ODI debut with excellent figures of 4-21 from 12 overs and then top-scored with an unbeaten 41 — while striking the solitary six of the entire game — but his heroics were in vain as New Zealand completed a 52-run victory on the reserve day.
Pakistan were quite dismal in the chase from the start of the innings. The legendary Richard Hadlee sent back Mohsin Khan and Zaheer Abbas in the first over and when Lance Cairns got rid of Mudassar Nazar, Pakistan were three down for no runs.
The return fixture at the County Ground in Derby was a close affair in which Pakistan emerged winners by 11 runs. Zaheer hit 103 and captain Imran Khan 79 as they put on 147 in the unbroken partnership of 147 that eventually lifted Pakistan to 261-3. New Zealand lost half their side for 130 runs but rallied gamely before being bowled out for 250 in 59.1 overs.
Pakistan maintained their supremacy over New Zealand in the next two editions, winning all four matches. On their way to winning the 1992 World Cup, Pakistan defeated the co-hosts twice in the space of four days.
On the last day of the preliminary round Pakistan trounced New Zealand by seven wickets at the now-demolished Lancaster Park in Christchurch before spending an agonising wait of about six hours to find out whether they qualified for the semi-finals — the path for them was cleared by outgoing champions Australia who did Imran’s ‘cornered tigers’ a huge favour by ending West Indies’ hopes in the final league match in Melbourne.
Wasim Akram (4-32) and Mushtaq Ahmed (2-18) combined to bowl out the home side for 166 in 48.2 overs before Ramiz Raja belted 16 boundaries in scoring 119 off 155 balls as Pakistan reached 167-3 in 44.4 overs to hand New Zealand their first loss of the competition.
The teams then met again in the first semi-final at the Eden Park in Auckland since Pakistan finished fourth in the final standings behind New Zealand, England and South Africa.
Martin Crowe was quite sensational in that last-four clash, as he was throughout the tournament, as the New Zealand captain stroked an 83-ball 91 before limping off with pain in his left hamstring.
New Zealand had piled up a potentially match-winning 262-7 but Crowe’s forced absence in the second half sealed New Zealand’s fate because only the captain knew of the game-plan. Stand-in skipper John Wright had no idea the strategies devised by Crowe that ultimately cost them dearly as Pakistan — who needed 123 from the final 15 overs at that stage — roared into the match through Javed Miandad (57 not out) and a stunning 37-ball 60 from newcomer Inzamam-ul-Haq before Moin Khan (20 off 11) struck the winning runs with one over to spare.
Pakistan’s roller-coaster ride continued in the 1999 World Cup. In the pool fixture at Derby, secured 62-run success on the back of Inzamam’s unbeaten 73 that enabled the Wasim Akram-led team post 269-8.
The teams then met in the semi-final at Old Trafford. New Zealand never broke the shackles as they struggled to 241-7 in 50 overs.
Saeed Anwar (133 not out off 148 balls) and Wajahatullah Wasti (84) then recorded Pakistan’s highest-ever World Cup partnership for any wicket as the openers put on 194 before the job was completed with nine wickets and 15 deliveries to spare.
The two sides didn’t play against each other in the 2033 and 2007 tournaments but when they finally did during the 2011 World Cup, Ross Taylor punished a shoddy Pakistan side in the picturesque settings of the Pallekele International Cricket Stadium on the outskirts of Sri Lankan hill station Kandy.
Taylor celebrated his 27th birthday in great style after receiving two enormous gifts. Before opening his account he saw Kamran Akmal didn’t bother to hold the catch that flew to the fence and then in the same over, the wicket-keeper spilled the easiest of catches with Shoaib Akhtar the sufferer. Thereafter, Taylor cashed in gleefully to blast an unbeaten 131 off 124 balls (eight fours and seven sixes) as the Black Caps posted 302-7.
Pakistan’s chase came to a deserving end at 192 in the 42nd over after they slumped to 66-6 in 17.1 overs as New Zealand won by a whopping 110-run margin.
June 11-12, 1983 — Edgbaston, New Zealand won by 52 runs
June 20, 1983 — Trent Bridge, Pakistan won by 11 runs
March 18, 1992 — Christchurch (Lancaster Park), Pakistan won by seven wickets.
March 21, 1992 — Auckland, Pakistan won by four wickets
May 28, 1999 — Derby, Pakistan won by 62 runs
June 16, 1999 — Old Trafford, Pakistan won by nine wickets
March 8, 2011 — Pallekele, New Zealand won by 110 runs
Published in Dawn, June 26th, 2019