It was extremely disappointing for Pakistani cricket enthusiasts when the team lost to New Zealand in the final One Day International (ODI) of the five-match series that concluded at the National Cricket Arena, Karachi on Sunday.
The humiliating 47-run defeat that avoided a series whitewash against the Kiwis was only one thing to regret as Pakistan also lost their position on the top of the International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s ODI Rankings just 48 hours after claiming it for the first time in history.
Power hitter Iftikhar Ahmed, who scored 94 runs in the match, expressed solidarity with the cricket fans while apologising on the national side’s behalf for not meeting their expectations.
Taking to Twitter, the right-hander said: “I am sorry Pakistan. We should’ve ended on the right side of the match, but it wasn’t to be.”
He, however, added that he was enjoying cricket and was grateful for his return to the ODIs.
On Sunday, Iftikhar made a solid effort during Pakistan’s chase of the 300-run target but wickets kept falling after regular intervals which made it difficult for the home side to secure victory.
The right-hand middle-order batter remained unbeaten on 94, which included eight boundaries and two maximums. But, his effort went in vain as the Kiwis contained Pakistan to 252 runs.
Home side’s Agha Salman also remained prominent with the bat as he scored 57 runs. Agha and Iftikhar stitched a 97-run partnership to take Pakistan back into the competition after losing quick wickets at the top.
Henry Shipley and Rachin Ravindra claimed three wickets apiece, contributing to New Zealand’s triumph.
In a historic achievement, Pakistan achieved the No. 1 ranking on Friday by defeating New Zealand by a massive 102-run margin in the 4th ODI. This victory propelled them past India and Australia, securing the coveted top position in ODI cricket.
However, their hold on the throne was short-lived as the consolation win by Kiwis dashed their hopes of a complete series whitewash and sent them tumbling down from the summit.
Currently, Australia leads the rankings with 113 points, closely followed by India at the No. 2 spot, also with 113 points. Pakistan now finds itself at No. 3 with 112 points.