Pakistan beat New Zealand to keep semi-final hopes alive

Pakistan kept their hopes of a World Cup semi-final place alive as they moved to within a point of England with a six-wicket victory over New Zealand.

Babar Azam's 101 saw Pakistan home in front of a partisan crowd at Edgbaston after Shaheen Afridi had ripped through New Zealand's top order.

Jimmy Neesham's unbeaten 97 had given New Zealand a chance on a slow pitch.

But Pakistan's win with five balls to spare leaves hosts and pre-tournament favourites England in more danger. Only wins against New Zealand and India in their final two group games will be enough to guarantee England a semi-final place.

Chasing a tricky total of 238 on the Edgbaston pitch that offered a lot of assistance to new-ball bowlers and spinners, Pakistan were jolted early as they lost aggressive opener Fakhar Zaman for 9. Fellow opener Imam-ul-Haq fell for 19 but Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez stitched a 64-run stand for the 3rd wicket to put Pakistan's chase on track.

Babar and Hafeez survived a top-class spell of left-arm spin bowling from Mitchell Santner but Hafeez fell to part-timer Kane Williamson in the New Zealand captain's first over.

Babar then joined hands with Haris Sohail who continued from where he left against South Africa. Haris' positive intent rubbed off on Babar as the duo made light work of the New Zealand bowling challenge. The two batsmen oozed class and looked assured as Williamson ran out of plans, much to the delight of the packed house at Edgbaston.

(Agencies)