Babar Azam hit his 10th ODI century, finishing 101 not out off 127 balls, as Pakistan reached 241-4 in 49.1 overs in reply to New Zealand's 237-6. Every boundary — 11 of them from Babar — produced a huge roar and a sea of green flags in the stands as an overwhelmingly Pakistan-supporting crowd had a day to remember at Edgbaston.
Babar shared a fourth-wicket partnership of 126 with Haris Sohail, who was run out for 68. Pakistan moved level on seven points with Bangladesh, one point behind fourth-place England, which has lost its last two games. The top four in the 10-team standings advance to the semifinals.
New Zealand is second with 11 points.
Pakistan is 128-3 after 30 overs and on course to chase down a target of 238 to beat New Zealand and stay in the fight for fourth place.
Babar Azam is 51 not out off 72 balls but Mohammad Hafeez fell for 32, holing out off the bowling of spinner Kane Williamson. That ended a 66-run partnership after the pair came together at 44-2.
The 24-year-old Babar enjoyed a personal landmark on reaching 29 in his 68th innings — becoming the second fastest man behind South Africa's Hashim Amla to reach 3,000 ODI runs — and is posing a real danger to New Zealand.
Fakhar Zaman (9) and Imam-ul-Haq (19) were dismissed earlier.
Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme came to unbeaten New Zealand's rescue with a 132-run partnership to lift the 2015 World Cup finalist's total to 237-6 against Pakistan.
Left-arm seamer Shaheen Afridi (3-28) had helped reduce the Black Caps to 46-4 and 83-5, when Kane Williamson was out for 41.
Neesham finished on his highest ODI score, 97 not out from 112 balls. He hit five fours and three sixes, including smashing a six off the last ball of the innings.
De Grandhomme was run out, too slow against Mohammad Amir's throw while going for a second run, to finish on a 71-ball 64.
New Zealand narrowly chased down South Africa's 241-6 on the same Edgbaston wicket and this score, while it appears to be a sub-par total, could prove a nervy pursuit for seventh-place Pakistan in a must-win game.
New Zealand would advance to the last four with a win.
New Zealand has a lot of work to do to keep its unbeaten tag.
The Kiwis are struggling on 84-5 off 27 overs against an energetic Pakistan supported by a partisan crowd at Edgbaston.
Spinner Shadhab Khan claimed the key wicket of New Zealand captain Kane Williamson for a 69-ball 41. Williamson was caught behind by Sarfaraz Ahmed, one of the Pakistan captain's three catches so far.
Left-arm seamer Shaheen Afridi is the standout bowler with 3-11 off seven overs, including three maidens. Before Williamson fell to right-hander Shadab, 13 of the 14 wickets so far to fall on back-to-back days had fallen to left-arm seamers.
Allrounder Jimmy Neesham and bruiser Colin de Grandhomme are the batsmen at the crease.
Chris Gayle isn't quite ready to retire after all, saying he's thinking about playing a test match for the West Indies against India and "definitely play" the one-day internationals in the August series.
The 39-year-old self-described "Universe-Boss" is playing his last World Cup and had been considering a full international retirement.
But on the eve of a must-win World Cup match against India at Old Trafford, he revealed his post-tournament plan to face India again on home soil.
The announcement at a news conference surprised even West Indies skipper Jason Holder, who said later that he hadn't been aware of Gayle's decision until the team's media manager informed him.
Pakistan is in firm control of its must-win World Cup game after reducing New Zealand to 46-4 after 13 overs in a soccer-stadium atmosphere at Edgbaston.
In the best wicket so far, wicketkeeper-captain Sarfaraz Ahmed dived acrobatically to his right to catch No. 4 Ross Taylor (3) off Shaheen Afridi to huge cheers from the overwhelmingly Pakistan-supporting crowd. The screen replay got an even louder reception.
Left-arm seamer Shaheen has taken 3-8 in his first five overs.
Opener Martin Guptill went for five — to the first delivery from left-arm quick Mohammad Amir after chopping on to his wicket — and Colin Munro for 12, was caught in the slips off the 19-year-old Shaheen.
Kiwi captain Kane Williamson is still at the crease on 23. Tom Latham isn't, after he was caught behind off Shaheen for 1. That brought in Jimmy Neesham.
New Zealand captain Kane Williamson won the toss and opted to bat against Pakistan.
The unbeaten Black Caps are unchanged from their dramatic five-run win over the West Indies on Saturday.
Pakistan is also unchanged from its 49-run win over South Africa on Sunday which ended the Proteas' hopes at the tournament. Pakistan captain Sarfaraz Ahmed says he would also have chosen to bat first.
New Zealand played on the same straw-colored wicket against South Africa a week ago. Both teams posted sub-250 totals.
A wet outfield delayed the toss by an hour.
Pakistan fans outnumber Kiwi supporters at an overcast Edgbaston with the floodlights on.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed (captain), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi.
The start of the Cricket World Cup game between New Zealand and Pakistan has been delayed because of a wet outfield in Birmingham.
The next pitch inspection at Edgbaston will be at 10:30 a.m., when the game was scheduled to start.
New Zealand has the chance to follow Australia into the semifinals of the Cricket World Cup if it beats Pakistan at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Pakistan can move one point behind fourth-place England with a win, and go level with Bangladesh, as the race for the finals spots unexpectedly opens up.
New Zealand has 11 points from six games and is chasing its eighth semifinal appearance at the tournament and the chance to regain top spot in the 10-team standings from Australia. Defending champion Australia secured a place in the semifinals with a comfortable win over top-ranked England on Tuesday.
Seventh-place Pakistan has five points, After appearing to be down and out after losing three of its first five matches, Pakistan has been given a potential lifeline by England. Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are Pakistan's closest rivals also in the hunt for a semifinal spot.
Pakistan, the 1992 champion, leads 2015 finalist New Zealand 6-2 in World Cup games.
The weather forecast is for cloudy conditions and light drizzle before improving, with temperatures up to 19 degrees Celsius (66 degrees Fahrenheit).
More AP cricket: www.apnews.com/cricket and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports