Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam, emphasized the importance of maintaining focus even after securing a 3-0 lead in the five-match series against New Zealand. The team’s top-order batsmen and pacers put on an impressive show at the National Stadium on Wednesday, defeating New Zealand by 26 runs in the third ODI.
Azam expressed satisfaction with the series win, acknowledging the strong partnership formed on the slow wicket. He credited Shadab’s contribution for pushing the score beyond 280. Despite their success, he urged the team not to become complacent and to continue testing their bench strength in the remaining matches.
He also praised his bowlers, particularly Shadab, Nawaz, and Agha, for their adherence to the game plan. Azam shared the team’s aspirations to chase 350s in ODIs and defend scores below 300. In the third match, New Zealand’s openers, Young and Blundell, started strong with an 80-run partnership. However, after Young was run out by Agha Salman, and Mitchell was dismissed by Mohammad Wasim Jr, Blundell reached his half-century with 53 balls.
Latham joined Blundell, who was later run out after scoring 65. Chapman partnered with Latham but was quickly bowled by Naseem Shah for 13 runs. McConchie, with 64 runs not out, set a new record for New Zealand with the fastest ODI half-century off 36 balls. However, the team was ultimately bowled out for 261 in 49.1 overs.
Earlier, Pakistan‘s Imam-ul-Haq scored 90 runs, and captain Babar Azam contributed 54, as the hosts reached a total of 287-6 after being asked to bat first. Babar’s attempt at an off-drive led to Matt Henry breaking the century stand.
Despite showing patience, Imam was eventually dismissed by Adam Milne. Rizwan scored 32 before being bowled by Milne, while Shadab Khan made a quick 21 and ended the innings with a six off Henry.
The final two ODIs will be held in Karachi on Friday and Sunday as New Zealand concludes its white-ball tour.