Shehzad helps Pakistan clinch series
Pakistan Under-19 233 for 7 (Shehzad 76, Naeem 46) beat New Zealand Under-19 232 for 9 (Cachopa 70, Anderson 46, Sana 3-21) by three wickets
Pakistan Under-19 clinched the three-match warm-up series against New Zealand Under-19 2-1 with a tight three-wicket win in the decider in Blenheim. Opener Ahmed Shehzad starred with a run-a-ball 76, striking 11 fours and a six, and was supported by the middle and lower orders as Pakistan chased down their target of 233 with seven balls to spare. They were dented early in their reply, as two wickets fell for 36, but important contributions from captain Azeem Ghumman (31), Mohammad Naeem (46), Hammad Azam (27) and Usman Qadir (22 not out) took them over the line.
Three-wicket hauls from Kaleem Sana and Raza Hasan had helped Pakistan limit New Zealand to a chaseable score. What the hosts managed at the end of their innings was significantly more than what they would have expected when an early burst had left them reeling at 11 for 3. Corey Anderson (46) and captain Craig Cachopa (70) revived the innings and the lower order stepped up at the death to take their team to a respectable score, which, in the end, proved inadequate.
New Zealand team manager Kevin Pulley said while the series loss was disappointing, it had been a valuable build-up for the side. "Unlike some other teams we have not played together before so this has been excellent preparation," he said. "All 15 in our squad have now had a run and we're starting to come together as a team."
New Zealand now go on to face Bangladesh and England in the official U-19 World Cup warm-up games in Christchurch next week. Pakistan will meet Zimbabwe and South Africa in their warm-ups.