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Cricket World Cup matchday 28: Pakistan condemn New Zealand to first defeat

Cricket World Cup matchday 28: Pakistan condemn New Zealand to first defeat
© Reuters
The race for the semi-finals looks like going all the way to the finish.

Pakistan kept their World Cup hopes alive to end New Zealand's unbeaten record with a six-wicket win at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

New Zealand knew victory would secure a fourth successive World Cup semi-final appearance, but the Black Caps were unable to defend their total of 237 for six against revitalised opposition.

Babar Azam's unbeaten 101 – the first World Cup century by a Pakistan player other than an opening batsman since 1987 – saw off New Zealand with five balls to spare.

Tweet of the day

Wasim Akram (@wasimakramlive) June 26, 2019

Former Pakistan captain Wasim Akram believes his country are in with a shout of making the semi-finals.

Snap shot

New Zealand v Pakistan – ICC Cricket World Cup – Group Stage – Edgbaston
Pakistan's Babar Azam celebrates his match-winning century against New Zealand (Simon Cooper/PA)

Fans-tastic

New Zealand v Pakistan – ICC Cricket World Cup – Group Stage – Edgbaston
Pakistan fans turned Edgbaston into a sea of green (Simon Cooper/PA)

There is some pretty stiff competition for who has got the noisiest backing at the 2019 World Cup. Bangladesh and India fans can both lay claim to that title, but Pakistan's 'green army' took support to a different level as a raucous Edgbaston atmosphere made life difficult for New Zealand.

Tournament tracker

Cricket World Cup: key statistics so far
Cricket World Cup: key statistics so far (PA Graphics)

Quote of the day

England's Joe Root on the need for cool heads in the crunch duel with India on Sunday

Stat will do

Top shot

New Zealand v Pakistan – ICC Cricket World Cup – Group Stage – Edgbaston
Haris Sohail played a key role for Pakistan with 68 from 76 balls (Simon Cooper/PA)

Haris Sohail played a vital supporting role to Azam and his straight six off Trent Boult with Pakistan chasing down victory was right out of the top drawer.

Spinning his web

New Zealand v Pakistan – ICC Cricket World Cup – Group Stage – Edgbaston
Shadab Khan (centre) and team-mates celebrate the prize wicket of New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson (Simon Cooper/PA)

Some wickets are celebrated more than others, and Kane Williamson's is as treasured as much as anyone at this World Cup. Williamson was digging New Zealand out of another hole when Shadab Khan bamboozled him with a ball of prodigious turn that took the outside edge and gave wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed a catch behind.

Top-four fight

England v Australia – ICC Cricket World Cup – Group Stage – Lord's
England must raise their heads again in final two games (Adam Davy/PA)

What seemed a procession towards the semi-finals a week ago is now anything but. Successive England defeats have opened the door for Bangladesh, Pakistan or Sri Lanka to sneak into the final four. England's last two games are against India and New Zealand and the race for a semi-final spot looks like going to the wire.

Up next

June 27: West Indies v India at Old Trafford

Table

Cricket World Cup table
Cricket World Cup table (PA Graphic)

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New Zealand batsman Kane Williamson celebrates scoring a century against South Africa on June 19, 2019
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Cricket World Cup matchday 28: New Zealand look to join Australia in semi-finals
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