New Zealand v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Auckland January 31, 2016

New Zealand win series in tense, rain-hit finish


New Zealand 265 for 7 (Williamson 84, Guptill 82) beat Pakistan 290 (Azam 83, Hafeez 76) by three wickets (D/L method)
Scorecard and-ball-by-ball details

Play 04:51
Highlights - New Zealand see off Pakistan in tense finish

There was a large top-order stand and a middle-overs collapse from either team, and perhaps it was an umpiring error that separated the sides in the end. New Zealand needed 53 from 45 balls when play resumed after a rain delay. They got home with two balls to spare, and three wickets in hand - Mitchell Santner providing the blows to quell the Pakistan quicks' final charge.

Chasing a revised 263 from 43 overs, the match had been finely balanced in the home stretch before two gaffes in five balls put the hosts in control. The first was a botched chance in the deep, as Mohammad Hafeez spilled Luke Ronchi's mis-hit pull, after diving forward to get both hands to it. The next was a botched decision from umpire Billy Bowden, who failed to hear an edge off Corey Anderson's blade in the 39th over, leaving bowler Rahat Ali and his fielders in disbelief. If Pakistan had got that wicket, they would have had Santner batting alongside the out-of-sorts Ronchi, with 38 still needed off the last 24 balls. What they got instead was two successive sixes from Anderson, who had been suitably stoic during that appeal - not even chancing a glance back at the keeper.

Thirteen runs were scored off the next over, bringing the requirement to 13 runs from 18 balls, before Pakistan worked themselves up for another late push. Wahab bowled Ronchi at the end of a 41st over that cost only three runs. Then Mohammad Irfan had Anderson caught at deep midwicket, conceding only four runs from the penultimate over. The hosts now needed six from six.

As it turned out, New Zealand had reserved enough batting quality for the end. Santner drilled the first ball of the last over through the covers, and though Wahab responded with two dot-balls, Santner found a leg-side boundary to seal the match, and the series 2-0.

Before rains intervened after 35.3 overs, Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill had provided the perfect foundation for the chase of 291, hitting 84 and 82 respectively. New Zealand lost Brendon McCullum to Mohammad Amir's first ball, but their two form batsmen gave the chase a surging start. Guptill smoked Irfan high over long off in the third over, before Williamson hit boundaries on either side of the wicket, off the same bowler's next over.

Amir, though, seaming and slippery, made trouble for both batsmen. He hit Guptill's pad twice, raising voracious appeals, one of which Pakistan burned their review on. And he threatened the edge numerous times, angling the ball across the right handers, then seaming it back at them. Williamson had both edges beaten in the 10th over - the last of Amir's first spell, which yielded figures of 1 for 15 from five overs. The other bowlers had not been nearly as good. The hosts took 52 from the Powerplay despite Amir's parsimony.

The batsmen settled into smooth accumulation when the field relaxed. There were occasional eruptions, like when Williamson smoked a six and a four off Irfan in the 14th over, but the partnership merely bubbled for the most part. The run rate continued to be better than what was required. By the 20th over, New Zealand had hit 118, Guptill having crossed 50 and Williamson closing in on his.

It would eventually be part-time legspin that broke the partnership. Azhar Ali had gone for 16 in his first two overs, but kept himself on, and got Guptill to send an outside edge to point in the 26th over. By then the partnership had grown to 159 - a record for the second wicket for New Zealand, just two weeks after the same pair had also broken the overall T20 partnership record. Azhar had Williamson stumped in his next over as well, weakening New Zealand from 165 for 1 to 180 for 3. When Amir came back to trap Henry Nicholls in front soon after, Pakistan were back in the match. When Grant Elliott fell just as the hour-long rain delay began, New Zealand had slipped to 210 for 5.

Pakistan's innings had followed a similar pattern; two top order batsmen putting the team in control, before their dismissals in sight of centuries sparked a stutter from the middle order. Babar Azam struck 83 from 77 balls and Mohammad Hafeez made 76 from 60, hitting five sixes and as many fours. Together they made 134 runs for the third wicket, off 107 balls.

Coming together after Trent Boult and Matt Henry had removed the openers cheaply, Hafeez and Azam made the innings spark. Striking two fours apiece just after the Powerplay ended, they pushed the run rate above six in the 12th over, and it continued to creep north of there. Hafeez hit his second six when he ran at Santner and lifted him over the sightscreen in the 13th over. Azam largely preferred to keep the ball along the ground.

In between the big shots, there were ample runs into the outfield. Hafeez' big straight six to pass 50 in the 19th over brought another swell of boundaries. He hit two more sixes in quick succession - off Milne and Santner - inspiring Azam to venture a big straight blow as well. The 21st over, bowled by Santner, cost 20 runs, having yielded two sixes and a four, but he was kept in the attack, and broke the partnership in his next over. Hafeez attempted to hit a square six for the first time in his innings, and wound up mishitting his sweep to the deep square leg fielder.

Azam continued to reap regular boundaries alongside Shoaib Malik, with whom he consolidated Pakistan's advantage. The total crossed 200 in the 30th over, and the pair's partnership moved to 61 from 48 balls before Malik was caught behind, cutting a Boult ball close to his body. The wicket set off Pakistan's middle order stutter. Azam was soon out, also cutting, this time middling a Henry delivery directly to backward point, where Guptill claimed the third of his four catches in the innings.

Sarfraz Ahmed attempted to glue the back end of Pakistan's innings together, but kept losing partners. Milne blew the tail away with three late wickets, and the visitors were all out in the 48th over.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • A Shariq on February 3, 2016, 12:59 GMT

    I feel that test cricket being the best and the most original form of cricket, ODIs and T20s need to be played in similar spirit. The latter two create intense pressure on the players as the need to win is paramount; to the contrary, it is the performance that counts (as is possible in test cricket) not so much a win especially if it happens by a very narrow margin such as happened in this match. What could be done perhaps in such a scenario (where match did not complete due to bad weather in the second innings) is to relegate the match to a draw as a first step, then to award a performance win (or points) to the team bettering in the D/L calculation. As humans we should not simply work digitally with an On (Match Won) and an OFF (Match Lost), but need to appreciate the in betweens - the performance that is! As a health practitioner, I also now that too much mental pressure in such matches (currently) invariably impacts as adrenal fatigue and earlier aging. Let the test spirit prevail.

  • Tom on February 3, 2016, 11:21 GMT

    Australia's lost today shows that Pakistan performance wasn't that bad after all considering New Zealand awesome form at their home ground, They could have won T20 series and drawn ODI with better umpiring. Yasir also could have made the difference as Azhar Ali showed some weaknesses in New Zealand.

  • asad on February 3, 2016, 0:27 GMT

    Speaking of all the bad things we must also speak of the positives: Amir is still a very good bowler after that huge break & its said that he can improve even more so Pakistan will have a good bowling unit, Babar Azam is a quality young batsman & PCB will have to make sure not to waste his talent like that, Azhar Ali is actually a decent bowler & if he works on it then he can become a decent all rounder but his captaincy still needs work.

  • asad on February 3, 2016, 0:22 GMT

    The thing that was really proved in this series is that Pakistan fail to finish off an innings properly. Whether they are batting (from 215/3 at the end of 31st over to 290 all out in 47.3 overs) or bowling (from having NZ at 99/6 in 22.1 overs to letting them finish at 280/8). When it comes to finishing a batting innings, we need big hitting batsmen or all rounders like Anwar Ali (every team has some: Aus- Marsh, Faulkner, Maxwell, NZ- Anderson, Santner, India- Raina, Jadeja, SA- Miller, AB( can bat at any gear), WI- Russel etc..). When it comes to bowling then I think Pakistan have the bowling fire power but not the captaincy smart enough to use the bowlers. With NZ at 99/6 we really needed to attack with our pacers. Even without Amir bowling another over from that point we should have bowled them out for 120-140 & taken an easy win. This series really hurt as a Pakistani fan since Pakistan had really good starts but still lost. continued.....

  • Pranshu on February 1, 2016, 19:19 GMT

    Welldone NZ...congrats on winning the series. Now make it a whitewash.

  • DINESH on February 1, 2016, 11:48 GMT

    One fluke innings by Ronchi against SL 2 years ago. He is still in that team for one such performance

  • jhg on February 1, 2016, 8:58 GMT

    Azhar Ali needs to be dropped from the ODI's he is only fit for test cricket. Waqar needs to be changed as well, He was an excellent coach but an ordinary coach. CHanges at the top order, Shahzad, Maqsood, Rizwan need to be changed by Nauman Anwar, Fakhar Zaman, Mukhtar Ahmad. Gul and Imad needs to be changed by Sadaf Hussain and M. Nawaz.

  • Farrukh on February 1, 2016, 7:13 GMT

    Root cause for the current show by Pak ODI team is a docile and submissive captain which is required by the ever so aggressive management (read head coach). The required traits lead to a defensive mindset and that was on display in both the games. Can somebody explain that when NZ required a 7 something runs per over to win why there were no close fielders to save the singles and no slip at all to increase your chances for a wicket. Not enough talent mixed with defensive cricket and the results are there to see.

  • Mark on February 1, 2016, 5:27 GMT

    Why are some Pakistani fans venting their anger on Bilky Bowden? The Pakistani team lost. They should have posted a higher score, they should have taken more wickets. And they wasted their review.

    They also fought well to go down to the last over. Pakistan had plenty of other chances to win.

    So, man up, accept the defeat and we will play again at a later stage. Good luck for the T/20 Worl Cup.

  • Sarang on February 1, 2016, 5:01 GMT

    So, after a close game, all I see is discussions on 2 points - 1. Umpiring mistake - Wasn't DRS supposed to reduce such discussions? Oh yes, it was also supposed to remove howlers from cricket. It is like buying a Mercedes and finding the engine is stalled. 2. SL vs Pak teams in NZ - To all those posters responding to Herath-UK, you are simply wasting your energy. Guess you shud know by now. LOL. Difference between these 2 teams is chalk n cheese. However, for me, their supposedly better bowling attacks failed miserably in better bowling conditions of NZ. Ind did better in Oz against far superior batting line up on flat roads.

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