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Pakistan eyes clean sweep against Kiwis

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has his eye on a clean sweep over a depleted New Zealand after taking a decisive 3-0 lead in the five-match one-day international series.

india Updated: Dec 04, 2003 17:32 IST

Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq has his eye on a clean sweep over a depleted New Zealand after taking a decisive 3-0 lead in the five-match one-day international series.

The New Zealanders have so far performed inconsistently against their more experienced rivals. The Kiwis, with seven newcomers in the side, gave Pakistan a scare just once when it went down by three wickets in the first game.

However, Pakistan regrouped in the next two to record victories by 124 and 51 runs.

"A 5-0 result is a possibility, but to achieve that we should not be complacent," Inzamam said Thursday, on the eve of the fourth game at Pindi Cricket Stadium.

Inzamam, who played his 300th international Wednesday, needs another 23 runs to surpass Mohammad Azharuddin (9378 runs) in one-day internationals and go behind world record holder Sachin Tendulkar (12,685 runs).

"My ambition is to score more and more as long as I am fit and can play competitive cricket," Inzamam said.

Pakistan paceman Mohammad Sami, who went wicketless in a high-scoring opening game, claimed eight scalps in the next two- which included a career best 5-10 in the second day-night international.

Pakistan all-rounder Abdul Razzaq was instrumental in his side's three wins, scoring 47, 42 and 34 all in quick time. "He (Razzaq) has shown that he is one of the few good all-rounders in the field of cricket," Inzamam said.

With the series already in the bag, Pakistan may give a chance to players like all-rounder Azhar Mahmood and paceman Umar Gul, both of whom have so far not figured in the series. "We might try few other players," Inzamam hinted.

Four New Zealand players refused to travel Pakistan due to security fears while three others- captain Stephen Fleming, Nathan Astle and Shane Bond- were ruled out due to injuries. However, they have made a useful discovery in the form of rookie Hamish Marshall.

The middle-order batsman is certainly the find of the series with a half century and a century already under his belt in his first three career one-day internationals.

Marshall's three catches and unbeaten 101 was not enough to guide his team home while chasing a huge Pakistan total of 314. "He's (Hamish Marshall) a great bloke, he's fitted in really well and has got a great work ethic. I've been really impressed," said New Zealand captain Chris Cairns.

Three New Zealand medium fast bowlers- Michael Mason, Kerry Walmsley and Matthew Walker- all had a tough time in the series so far and gave away too many runs in the last 10 overs.

"These guys are realizing how hard it is. When you look at the potential match-winners in each side, we're not blessed with as many as Pakistan," Cairns said. "If it was a full strength New Zealand side here, it would be a different story."

Cairns, who scored a whirwind 84 off 51 balls in the first game, before failing in the next two innings, still hoped that if his team could win, it will be a great achievement for his new-look side. "Everybody is trying their guts out. If we can pull off a victory it'll be fantastic."


New Zealand (from): 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 (from): 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, Aleem Dar, Pakistan

Television replays: Asad Rauf, Pakistan

Match referee: Denis Lindsay, South Africa.

First Published: Dec 04, 2003 17:12 IST