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Bengaluru, Nov 4: Rachin Ravindra’s ton powered New Zealand to a gigantic 401/6 in the must-win match for Pakistan in the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup at Chinnaswamy Stadium here on Saturday.

Rachin hammered his third century of the tournament with a brilliant 108 off 94 balls amidst the spectators chanting “Rachin Rachin” akin to the famous chants of “Sachin Sachin” for the great Sachin Tendulkar.

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson made a grand comeback after recovering from a thumb injury, but sadly fell five runs short of a century. He reached 95 from 79 balls until caught on the boundary by Fakhar Zaman off Iftikhar Ahmed barely centimetres from a six that would have brought up his ton.

Both Rachin and Williamson stitched a 180-run stand for the second wicket off just 141 balls. Initially, the Bengaluru lad combined with Devon Conway to take New Zealand’s total to 66/0 in the first powerplay.

Conway lost his wicket, and became Hasan Ali’s 100th ODI wicket. The Kiwi opener was gobbled up by Mohammad Rizwan behind the stumps for 35 off 39 balls with six boundaries.

Williamson, who returned to the team after recovering from a thumb injury, scored freely along with Rachin to put the side past 100 runs.

Pakistan bowlers hardly found any lateral movement with the new ball, although there was a bit of spongy bounce early on. Mohammad Wasim was the only exception though, who finished with 3/60.

It did not take long for Williamson and Rachin to press the accelerator, and plundered runs after Babar Azam won the toss and sent New Zealand into bat. They scored 86 runs without losing any wicket during the 21 to 30 over phase.

After Rachin and Williamson’s departures, swashbucklers Daryl Mitchell (29) and Mark Chapman (39) took over the reins to further lift the run rate as New Zealand crossed 300 runs mark by losing just three wickets with more than 10 overs still in the kitty.

The final assault was launched by Glenn Phillips (41) and Mitchell Santner (26*), who ensured that the solid foundation met its target.

Pakistan’s star bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi went wicketless and finished with a sombre figures of 0/90, which is the most expensive by a Pakistan bowler in World Cup history.

Pakistan, who are 1992 WC champions, need to win convincingly enough to boost their net run rate to close in on New Zealand’s rate, then follow up with another victory when they face England next Saturday to keep their semifinal dream alive.

New Zealand almost had one foot in the knockout stages when opening their World Cup with four consecutive triumphs, but three losses on the trot and injuries to key players suddenly have their campaign on a knife’s edge.

Brief Scores: New Zealand 401/6 (Rachin 108, Williamson 95; Wasim Jnr 3-60) vs Pakistan.