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Empty feeling as Rizwan hits century, Kiwis, Bangladesh claim wins

Pakistan’s Mohammed Rizwan hit an impressive century inside an eerily empty stadium on Friday but his team suffered a heavy defeat to New Zealand in their World Cup warm-up fixture.

Pakistan went down to a five-wicket loss to the Black Caps at the 55,000-capacity Rajiv Gandhi International Stadium.

The game, however, was played behind closed doors due to a Hindu festival and security issues in the southern Indian city.

Rizwan hit 103 with nine fours and two sixes in his 94-ball innings while skipper Babar Azam made 80 in Pakistan’s 345-5 after electing to bat first.

“A hundred is hundred in any conditions. I feel proud and satisfied,” said Rizwan.

Rachin Ravindra and the returning Kane Williamson then played key knocks as New Zealand chased down the target with 6.2 overs to spare.

Ravindra (97) and Williamson (54) put on 137 to put their team on course against a Pakistan attack missing pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi.

Williamson, who returned from a six-month lay-off due to a knee injury and played the match only as a batsman, looked impressive in his 50-ball stay before he retired out.

“It held up pretty good,” Williamson, who will miss the tournament opener against England on October 5, said about his knee after the win.

“Little bit of icing after that (knock). But that’s part of the process. Fortunate with that recovery and being named in the squad was exciting to me.”

Left-hand batsman Mark Chapman made an unbeaten 65 while Mitchell Santner contributed 59 before he retired out.

At Guwahati, Liton Das, Tanzid Hasan and Mehidy Hasan Miraz struck half-centuries to guide Bangladesh to a seven-wicket win over Sri Lanka in their opening warmup match.

Chasing Sri Lanka’s 263, Bangladesh knocked off the runs with eight overs to spare

Liton and Tanzid got Bangladesh motoring from the off as they put on 131 for the first wicket in 20 overs.

Liton cracked 10 boundaries in his 56-ball 61 before being caught by Matheesha Pathirana off Dushan Hemantha.

Tanzid, 22, has only played five ODIs but looked at home as he stroked two sixes and 10 fours on his way to 84 from 88 balls.

Mehidy Hasan Miraz, skipper for the day, led Bangladesh home with an undefeated 67 off 64 balls with five boundaries and two sixes.

He and Mushfiqur Rahim (35) put on an undefeated 76 for the fourth wicket.

Sri Lanka had won the toss and chose to bat.

Opener Pathum Nissanka top scored with 68 while Dhananjaya de Silva hit 55.

The day’s other scheduled warm-up between Afghanistan and South Africa in Thiruvananthapuram was abandoned without a ball being bowled due to rain.

On Saturday, five-time winners Australia face the Netherlands at Thiruvananthapuram while hosts India tackle defending champions England at Guwahati.