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March 12, 2001
It is still possible, despite all the modern technology, management systems and payment structures that cricket's qualities can over-ride all that is explainable.
When it is so often New Zealand's opposition that seems to be able to do the unexplainable, it makes what happened at Eden Park today amongst the most unpalatable cricket fare imaginable.
From a Pakistan point of view it was glorious. A young, fresh team, defying claims of disunity of purpose and unleashing several new stars on the world stage.
As for New Zealand, it was damnably frustrating. So little application, dedication and maturation that it will be a major mission to recover.
Beaten by 299 runs by Pakistan, New Zealand lost eight wickets for 10 runs in 62 minutes today.
Their last nine wickets fell for 26 runs, one of the least memorable statistics in New Zealand cricket history, 26 being the least number of runs scored in an innings by any side.
Chasing 431 runs for victory, it would have been improbable and a world record had they achieved it, one of the greatest statistics in the game as it represents the number of Test wickets taken by the chairman of selectors Sir Richard Hadlee, New Zealand never gave themselves a chance.
To see a side fall over as New Zealand did so limply today defies description.
It is New Zealand's second worst collapse in its history. New Zealand's team of 1946 lost eight wickets for five runs in their first innings against Australia at the Basin Reserve. And even in New Zealand's dismissal for 26 by England in 1955/56, New Zealand lost eight wickets for 17 runs.
It was 62 minutes of mayhem, as off spinner Saqlain Mushtaq took four wickets for three runs from 12.4 overs bowling unchanged from the western end of the ground and the surprise package of the day, Mohammed Sami, taking five wickets for six runs in seven overs.
He utilised the reverse swing approach which he had been developing over the last four or five months under the tutelage of Pakistan's great bowlers Wasim Akram and Waqar Younis.
New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming said: "It was a pretty devastating spell of bowling.
"We will work on it this afternoon. We have to move forward in a positive way.
"We will look at the computer system."
Fleming added that it wasn't only the wicket-taking deliveries that made life difficult for the batsmen, there were a number of opportunities when they played and missed other good balls.
Saqlain had been able to get a massive amount of purchase on the ball while Sami and Waqar had been moving it both ways.
"You have to admire the skills they possess in their side," he said.
The fourth ball loss of Mark Richardson had a big part to play in New Zealand's capitulation.
Still on his overnight score of 59, he launched into a cover drive against Saqlain and was easily held by Imran Farhat at close cover.
Nightwatchman Paul Wiseman did his job, hanging around for eight runs before he was out, but his departure set in train the domino effect.
He was bowled by Sami.
Mathew Sinclair, on 10, attempted a pull shot from Sami but guided it to Youhana at square leg who held the catch at his second attempt.
Nathan Astle played back to Saqlain and was bowled for one.
Stephen Fleming went well down the track to play a defensive shot to Saqlain, missed and was correctly adjudged leg before wicket for five runs.
Craig McMillan spent 31minutes attempting to get off the mark before launching into an on drive from Sami only to be caught by Saqlain at mid on diving to his right to snare a fine catch low down.
James Franklin looking to survive a king pair, did get past a big shout for leg before wicket from Sami first ball, but lasted only two balls more before being comprehensively bowled by Sami.
Daryl Tuffey was then bowled by Sami next ball with the last ball of the over.
Adam Parore took a leg bye from the third ball of the next over bowled by Saqlain and Chris Martin was bowled next ball, his first, for the last five batsmen to fail to score.
It was the worst day all of these players will endure in Test cricket.
The challenge will be to see how they respond.
Plays of the day from the fifth ODI in Ranchi
Shorter tours don't allow you time to get into form, and domestic cricket isn't demanding enough