Cricket world cup is going in full colors and cricket fans are going crazy for daily big matches of their favorite teams. Pakistan is one of the most followed team after team India in the International cricket. Here, in this article, we are going to discuss the rivalry of Pakistan and New Zealand in the ICC Cricket World Cup from 1983 to 2015.
20th June, 1983: Imran Khan leads nervy Pakistan victory
Stung by the heavy defeat in the previous duel, Pakistan were intent on revenge but as it turned out, New Zealand almost completed a double over their opponents in the tournament. A fantastic century from Zaheer Abbas and his unbroken 147-run stand with skipper Imran Khan ensured a strong total for Pakistan on a surface that wasn’t extremely good for batting. The shuffle in batting order helped with Javed Miandad and Abbas swapping a spot from their previous encounter against New Zealand. A better start also proved beneficial for Pakistan who would have felt confident of a comfortable win at the halfway mark.
For a major part of New Zealand’s run chase, it did seem that way too, as wickets kept falling at regular intervals with no threatening contributions to speak of. Skipper Geoff Howarth and Martin Crowe got starts but couldn’t carry on while Jeremy Coney was unfortunate to be run out after completing a smartly-paced fifty. Despite the trio’s efforts, Pakistan weren’t threatened until the rollicking 59-run stand for the ninth wicket between Warren Lees and John Bracewell that nearly got New Zealand over the line. Eventually, Mudassar Nazar broke the partnership by dislodging Lees and Sarfaraz Nawaz removed Bracewell to seal a nervy win for Pakistan. For his counterattacking half century and shrewd captaincy, Pakistan captain Imran Khan won the Man of the Match award.
A young Inzamam-ul-Haq came up with a phenomenal 37-ball 60 during the 1992 semis ©Getty
18th March 1992: Skilful Wasim paves Pakistan’s spot in semis
A skilful four-fer from Wasim Akram and a sublime unbeaten century from Rameez Raja ensured a comfortable win for Pakistan in this league encounter of the 1992 edition. While the duo were extremely brilliant, it was Mushtaq Ahmed with exceptional figures of 2 for 18, who won the Man of the Match award for his spell that was not only miserly but also included the massive breakthrough of a well-set Mark Greatbatch who was threatening to take the game away from Pakistan. He didn’t find any support from the rest though and if not for Gavin Larsen’s lower order defiance, the total would have been much lesser for New Zealand who were clearly at sea against Pakistan’s well-oiled bowling unit.
In reply, Pakistan rode on a one-man show from Rameez who defied a scorching new-ball spell from Danny Morrison to take his side home. Javed Miandad was the only other notable contributor in the chase of 167, out of which Rameez had 119. There could have been a case for the latter to be the Man of the Match but given that the bowlers had set the game up, it was only fair that Mushtaq got it.
21st March 1992: Inzamam announces his arrival
This has to be one of the finest matches played between the two sides and easily their best duel in a World Cup. It also featured one of the best knocks ever in the tournament’s history. Having adopted contrasting routes to the semi-final, it was a contest between the consistent New Zealand outfit and a Pakistan unit that had peaked at the right time in the tournament. Skipper Martin Crowe’s pristine innings and his century partnership with Ken Rutherford (who also got a fifty) were the cornerstone of New Zealand’s batting performance that produced an above-par total at Eden Park. Considering the knockout nature of the match, the score was worth another 20 runs more and it was definitely going to be a stern test of Pakistan’s batting abilities.
Rameez Raja and Imran Khan put on a solid partnership to keep Pakistan afloat after the early loss of Aamer Sohail but the Pakistan captain wasn’t at his fluent best although he did dig in. That partnership set the platform for Javed Miandad to exercise his middle-overs expertise but with the required run rate soaring and New Zealand giving very little away with the ball, Pakistan needed a sensational innings from somewhere. That’s exactly what a young Inzamam-ul-Haq provided and what stood out was the way he paced his innings during his phenomenal 37-ball 60. He was always known for his clean ball-striking but his maturity during his Man of the Match knock was top drawer. The rollicking stand between him and Miandad put Pakistan on the cusp of a win before Moin Khan’s cameo ensured a smooth finish with an over to spare. It was the kind of win that shot up the morale of the side and not surprisingly, they went on to win the final as well to claim their maiden World Cup title.
6th March, 1996: All-round Malik leads easy win
Pakistan in top form were tough to beat in the 1990s, more so in the sub-continent and New Zealand found that the hard way in this World Cup clash. It was a collective effort with both bat and ball that enabled Wasim Akram’s men to notch up a comfortable victory in this encounter. Fifties from Aamer Sohail and Saeed Anwar set the tone for the innings with most of the others contributing but it was Saleem Malik’s finish with the bat and his unbeaten 80-run stand with Akram that enabled Pakistan to post a challenging total. Inzamam’s cameo earlier also was eventful before he ran himself out to give some respite to New Zealand who might have harboured hopes of restricting their opponents but Malik had other ideas.
It was imperative for New Zealand to have a good start to have a crack at this target of 282 but that wasn’t to be as Craig Spearman and Nathan Astle both fell early. Skipper Lee Germon and Stephen Fleming resurrected the innings with the latter in particular showing great touch during his knock. Unfortunately for New Zealand, they didn’t have that one big partnership which could have taken them really deep in the run chase. Chris Cairns and Adam Parore fought hard at the back end of the innings but by then, they had too much to do against a quality attack. All the Pakistan bowlers used, except Ijaz Ahmed, fetched wickets and Malik added a couple of scalps to his name to add to his invaluable fifty earlier. He was the obvious choice for the Man of the Match.
Shoaib Akhtar played a crucial role in Pakistan’s win over New Zealand in 1999 ©Getty
28th May 1999: Red-hot Pakistan blitz aside feeble New Zealand
This World Cup produced the most one-sided duels between the two sides and it happened twice, including a knockout fixture. In this league encounter, it was once again Inzamam who showed his fondness for New Zealand with a balanced half-century. His partnership with the other half-centurion Ijaz Ahmed infused momentum into the innings and at one point, Pakistan were threatening a total around the 300-run mark if not more. However, with a flurry of wickets at the back end, New Zealand managed to pull things back although the total Pakistan ended with, 269, was a handy one.
New Zealand were clueless in the run chase against a fiery pace attack and got reduced to 71 for 6 at one stage. Azhar Mahmood in particular was extremely difficult to get away. Skipper Stephen Fleming conjured a fifty and a valuable stand with Chris Harris to help New Zealand avoid the blushes. The duo’s efforts helped to reduce the net run rate damage that proved crucial in the long run. For his well-paced half century, Inzamam was awarded Man of the Match
16th June 1999: Saeed Anwar seals Pakistan’s final route
If the league encounter between the two sides lacked competition, the semi-final was even worse as Pakistan virtually schooled New Zealand to reach their second World Cup final. Despite not having any big knocks, New Zealand got to a moderate total of 241 thanks to the middle order trio of Stephen Fleming, Roger Twose and Chris Cairns with the all-rounder providing the finishing touches to the innings. It wasn’t a bad total, especially considering the knockout nature of the contest but Pakistan were ruthless in the run chase and made a mockery of the target.
Saeed Anwar stroked an unbeaten ton and his mammoth opening stand of 194 with Wajahtullah Wasti all but sealed the deal in favour of Pakistan. Ijaz Ahmed then walked in at No. 3 and along with a graceful Anwar, polished the game off with 15 balls left to spare. Pakistan may have taken their time in getting the job done but at no point in the run chase was there any doubt over the result. Despite Anwar’s heroics, it was Shoaib Akhtar who won the Man of the Match award for his three wickets that were all timely and decisive breakthroughs in the context of the game.
8th March, 2011: Ross Taylor blitz leaves Pakistan flattened
Having not faced each other in the 2003 and 2007 editions of the World Cup, this was the first clash between the two teams in 12 years. A lot had changed during this time as Pakistan had lost that formidable nature that they had during the 1990s and the early part of the 2000s. They were still a strong side in the sub-continent and with the 2011 edition being in Asia, beating them was still not so straightforward. New Zealand though, had made rapid strides as a limited-overs side and their adaptability to Asian conditions is what helped them, especially in this game.
Martin Guptill’s fifty gave the early impetus to the innings but on a slowish surface, New Zealand weren’t able to maintain the tempo during the middle overs due to a flurry of wickets. Ross Taylor dug in though, and found an able partner in Scott Styris as the duo worked the ball around into gaps and played the ball on merit. While the partnership was on, nobody could have foreseen the carnage that was to come. After getting his eye in, Taylor went berserk in the last five overs and along with cameos from Nathan McCullum and Jacob Oram, pushed New Zealand past the 300-run mark, a target that was unthinkable at one point as over 100 runs came off the last five overs.
It was a knock for the ages from Taylor and Pakistan never really recovered from that onslaught. They were then rattled at the start in the chase by Kyle Mills and Tim Southee, the duo’s efforts starting a procession which reduced Pakistan to 66 for 6 and then 125 for 8. Abdur Razzaq’s fifty and his partnership with Umar Gul helped avoid the embarrassment but it was still a humiliating defeat for Pakistan. Taylor was the undisputed choice for the Man of the Match award.