Shaheen, Babar star as Pakistan win by six wickets

Babar Azam scored an unbeaten 101 runs with 11 fours, he was assisted by middle-order batsman Haris Sohail who scored 68 off 76 balls

BIRMINGHAM (Sports Desk): Pakistan kept alive their chances of reaching the World Cup semi-finals on Wednesday, cruising to a six-wicket win against previously unbeaten New Zealand at Edgbaston. New Zealand scored 237 for six in their 50 overs but that total proved inadequate as Babar Azam scored an impressive unbeaten century and Haris Sohail (68) offered valuable support. Pakistan, who beat South Africa on Sunday to revive their flagging World Cup campaign, now have seven points, level with fifth-placed Bangladesh and just one point behind hosts England. New Zealand are second in the table on 11 points behind Australia, the only team who have qualified so far. The top four teams qualify for the semi-finals. Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme hit fighting half-centuries as New Zealand posted 237 for six after Shaheen Shah Afridi´s three-wicket burst left them in a perilous position against Pakistan. Teenager Shaheen, who finished with figures of 3-28 in his 10 overs, wrecked the New Zealand top order, taking three wickets in 20 balls. Babar Azam scored an unbeaten 101 runs with 11 fours, he was assisted by middle-order batsman Haris Sohail who scored 68 off 76 balls, who hit 5 boundaries and 2 sixes. New Zealand were wobbling badly when the in-form Williamson was dismissed by leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who enticed the captain into giving an edge to wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed when he was on 41. Williamson, who had scored centuries in each of his previous innings, put on 37 for the fifth wicket with Neesham after New Zealand had slipped to 46-4. Mohammad Amir was first to strike, bowling Martin Guptill with the New Zealand score on five before Shaheen had opener Colin Munro (12) caught by Haris Sohail in the slips. Ross Taylor edged a Shaheen delivery to Sarfaraz and Tom Latham departed in similar fashion. Overnight rain delayed the start by an hour but the umpires decided the match would remain at 50 overs per side. New Zealand, who are second in the 10-team table with 11 points, kept the same team for the fifth match in a row. Pakistan, who are seventh, with five points, also kept faith with the team that beat South Africa at Lord´s on Sunday. If New Zealand win they will join title-holders Australia in the semi-finals.

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