New Zealand, Bangladesh reel off impressive wins on first day of World Cup warm-ups
Pakistan v New Zealand: Babar's Brilliance Sets the Tone
In what was Pakistan's first match on Indian soil after seven years, Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bat against New Zealand. Pakistan suffered an early setback as Imam-ul-Haq departed for just one run in the third over.
However, Babar Azam and Abdullah Shafique steadied the ship with a promising partnership. Unfortunately for Pakistan, Shafique's stint ended when Mitchell Santner outfoxed him, leaving Pakistan at 46-2.
Undeterred by the loss of the wicket, Mohammad Rizwan joined his skipper in the middle, and together they stitched a vital 114-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Although Babar fell short of his century, Rizwan reached his milestone and retired out. Saud Shakeel, Agha Salman, and Iftikhar Ahmed contributed crucial runs towards the end, setting a challenging target of 346 for the Blackcaps.
New Zealand's chase began on the wrong foot as Devon Conway departed for a duck in just the second over, caught off Hasan Ali's first ball. This early setback placed the onus on the Kiwi batters to mount a formidable comeback.
Kane Williamson, who had missed the first innings, made an impactful return with the bat, notching up 54 runs off 50 balls and dispelling any concerns of rustiness. He partnered with Rachin Ravindra, who opened the batting, and the duo put on a vital century partnership.
Ravindra played a substantial innings, falling just short of his century at 97. His dismissal came off Salman Ali Agha as Pakistan aimed to stage a comeback.
Daryl Mitchell then contributed with a valuable half-century before also retiring, leaving New Zealand with over 80 runs still needed. Jimmy Neesham and Mark Chapman rose to the occasion, combining to navigate New Zealand close to a win.
They eventually registered a win by five wickets in the 44th over with Mark Chapman hitting the winning six.
Sri Lanka v Bangladesh: Tigers tame Sri Lanka
In the day's other warm-up encounter, Sri Lanka won the toss and opted to bat. Pathum Nissanka and Kusal Perera set the stage ablaze with a blistering start. However, Perera retired hurt in the 10th over and Bangladesh spinners then began weaving a web around the Sri Lankan batters.
Dhananjaya de Silva was the sole Sri Lankan batter to provide some resistance, scoring a gritty 55 off 76 balls. Sri Lanka managed to post a total of 263 runs.
Bangladesh's chase got off to a flying start as openers Tanzid Hasan and Litton Das combined to establish a formidable partnership of 131 runs, both notching up half-centuries along the way.
Mehidy Hasan Miraz entered the fray in the 21st over, steadying the ship further. His unbeaten 67 off 64 balls, along with Mushfiqur Rahim's support, guided Bangladesh to a comfortable victory in just the 42nd over of the chase.
South Africa v Afghanistan: Rain plays spoilsport in Thiruvananthapuram
In the third warm-up encounter, South Africa was slated to take on Afghanistan in Thiruvananthapuram. However, persistent rain forced the match to be abandoned even before the coin toss.
South Africa's next challenge will be against New Zealand in their second warm-up game on October 2nd, while Afghanistan are set to clash with Sri Lanka on October 3rd.