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More than victory at stake for Pak

Pakistan could claim the No. 3 seeding for next year's Champions Trophy if it beats the young, but dangerous, New Zealand in their second one-day international on Monday.

india Updated: Nov 30, 2003 16:40 IST

Pakistan could claim the No. 3 seeding for next year's International Cricket Council Champions Trophy if it beats the young, but dangerous, New Zealand in their second one-day international Monday.

The International Cricket Council is due to finalize the seedings for the 12-team Champions Trophy tournament in England after Monday's day-night game at Gaddafi Stadium. Australia and South Africa are No. 1 and No. 2 seeds respectively.

If Pakistan wins against the Kiwis, it will be grouped with archrival India and African cricket minnow Kenya in the Champions Trophy. However, if Pakistan loses to New Zealand, it's opponents in the group will be host England and Zimbabwe.

"If my players play to their potential, I am not wary of India or Australia," said coach Javed Miandad after Pakistan chased its second best ever total and recorded a thrilling three-wicket win under lights Saturday.

All-rounder Abdul Razzaq scored a brisk 47 off 22 deliveries to achieve a tall target of 292 with two overs to spare after Pakistan had its back against the wall and was 227 for seven in the 44th over.

New Zealand stand-in captain Chris Cairns was more than satisfied with his team, which included six rookies after four key team members elected to skip the series due to security fears in Pakistan.

Captain Stephen Fleming also pulled out of the five-match series due to an abdominal injury forcing New Zealand to include seven new faces in its squad. The Black Caps fielded six of the new players in the first game and rested one-day regulars all-rounder Chris Haris and seamer Daryl Tuffey.

Despite missing all the star players, 33-year-old Kiwi skipper Cairns led the team superbly against an experienced Pakistan and compiled a total of 291 for five off 50 overs.

Cairns led from the front and made a whirlwind 84 off 51 balls, which featured six sixes and five fours.

"We had six debutantes against Pakistan team that's full of experience. I think it's a great game of cricket. We can draw lot of positives from it ," Cairns told reporters after the game. "The game could have gone either way.

"I don't think I've ever played first-class cricket with six debutantes and we were pretty much on top most of the time, but we got it whipped away from us at the end," added Cairns, who conceded 52 runs off his bowling.

Razzaq was involved in a 65-run unfinished eighth wicket partnership with Mohammad Sami off just 27 balls to give Pakistan victory.

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq was surprised to see Kiwis score a big total, but said he was confident his side could win. "I wasn't expecting so many runs from them," Inzamam said.

"But the wicket was easy for batting and I was confident that as long as Razzaq was there we would win."

However, Inzamam warned his team to improve in their bowling department quickly. "We didn't bowl well and allowed them to score freely, our bowlers had to put up a better show," he said.

Speedster Shoaib Akhtar will miss Monday's game after he was suspended for violating ICC's code of conduct during a Test match against South Africa last month. However, the speedster will be available for the third game of the series which will be played at Faisalabad Wednesday.

New Zealand: Chris Cairns (captain), Tama Canning, Craig Cumming, Chris Harris, Paul Hitchcock, Richard Jones, Hamish Marshall, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, Mathew Sinclair, Daryl Tuffey, Daniel Vettori, Matthew Walker, Kerry Walmsley, Michael Mason.

Pakistan: Inzamam-ul-Haq (captain), Imran Farhat, Saleem Elahi, Yasir Hameed, Yousuf Youhana, Shoaib Malik, Abdul Razzaq, Azhar Mahmood, Moin Khan, Danish Kaneria, Shabbir Ahmed, Mohammad Sami, Shoaib Akhtar, Misbah-ul-Haq, Umer Gul.

Umpires: David Orchard, South Africa; Nadeem Ghauri, Pakistan.

TV umpire: Aleem Dar, Pakistan.

Match referee: Denis Lindsay, South Africa.

First Published: Nov 30, 2003 14:09 IST