There was a lot riding on the three-match ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand in Karachi, given all that had transpired in the south Asian country over the past few months.
Pakistan were hoping to build on a remarkable T20 World Cup in Australia, where they seemed down and out after defeats in their first two games before fighting all the way to the final, denied a chance to lift the trophy by England.
The subsequent home series against England and New Zealand were seen as a chance to build on that momentum and also help international cricket flourish at home in a year littered with high-profile visits by teams.
However, a 3-0 Test series whitewash by an England team experimenting with a new philosophy of all out attacking cricket in Tests took Pakistan cricket to the brink of implosion. It brought about a complete overhaul of Pakistan's cricket establishment, with a new chairman and committee of selectors taking office.
The results following the change were encouraging. Pakistan fought hard to level the two-match Test series against the visiting Kiwis, coming within 15 runs of an incredible win in the second Test before bad light forced a draw.
Pakistan then faced the Black Caps in a three-match ODI series which provided a golden chance for both teams to clinch the No 1 ranking.
Babar Azam's team needed to win the series 3-0 to move up to the top spot, with a number of other teams right behind in a congested top five in the ICC table.
Pakistan won the opening match of the series by six wickets, with the top spot firmly in their sights. However, a comprehensive 79-run defeat in the second ODI has put a spanner in the works.
Who is the No 1 team in ODIs now?
After New Zealand's win in the second match, Kane Williamson's team have climbed to the top of the ODI rankings. However, the congestion at the top means New Zealand should not expect to remain there for long.
As of Thursday, New Zealand are at the top on 115 points. England are right behind them on 113, Australia on 112, India on 109 and Pakistan on 108 points. Victory for Pakistan in the second ODI would have pushed them to the top of the table.
Can Pakistan become the top-ranked ODI side?
Pakistan next face the Kiwis in the series decider in Karachi on Friday. If Pakistan win the match, they will finally have a home series win. However, they will not get to rise to the top of the ODI rankings. If Pakistan win, the Kiwis will lose their top spot, with the home team only rising to fourth in the table.