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Cricket

Babar century leads Pakistan to victory over New Zealand

Pakistan kept their hopes of a World Cup semi-final place alive as they moved to within a point of England with a six-wicket victory over New Zealand

Babar Azam made an unbeaten century as Pakistan beat New Zealand by six wickets on Wednesday to move a point behind hosts England in the Cricket World Cup standings and boost their chances of reaching the semi-finals.

New Zealand, unbeaten in their first six games of the tournament, lost four early wickets before Jimmy Neesham’s 97 not out lifted them to a respectable total of 237 for six at Edgbaston.

Azam scored 101 not out and Haris Sohail 68 to guide Pakistan to their target with five balls to spare and, with their remaining games against Afghanistan and Bangladesh, the 1992 world champions will be confident of reaching the last four.

New Zealand remained second in the standings, a point behind leaders Australia, and should still comfortably make the semi-finals.

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