Relieved Vettori hails historic win
Daniel Vettori went through a gamut of emotions in the 95.4 overs that played out in Abu Dhabi, but at the end of it all it was relief which most stood out. New Zealand were given a major scare by the second highest last-wicket stand in ODIs but managed to hold their nerve to win by seven runs, thus sealing their first away series win over Pakistan.
A relieved Vettori termed the historic success as a huge morale-booster ahead of the Twenty20 matches in Dubai later in the week. "For us to come over here and win as confidently as we did in the last two games is something I know a lot of the guys will cherish," he said. "The wickets and the atmosphere are very similar to Pakistan - there's a lot of support for Pakistan here and it's like a Pakistan home game.
"The key thing is it's a victory and no matter how you achieve it, it's still a series win. And tour wins for New Zealand sides away from home - we don't have that many."
After failing to bat out 50 overs, New Zealand reduced a shaky Pakistan from 47 for 0 to 101 for 9 to raise hopes of a facile win. When the young fast bowler Mohammed Aamer came to bat at No. 10, Pakistan needed 126 runs from 26.5 overs with only two wickets in hand, and people were emptying the Sheikh Zayed stadium thinking the game was over. What followed was a near epic as Aamer and last man Saeed Ajmal turned the heat right back on New Zealand.
It went to the last over, bowled by Jacob Oram, with Pakistan needing eight runs to win, but Ajmal top-edged the first ball and was caught by Kyle Mills at short fine leg. Vettori said that despite the intense situation he had been confident of New Zealand's chances and had no worries giving Oram the final over.
"I always backed us to get a wicket. I think when you only need one wicket you probably try a bit hard to get it," he said. "We backed Jacob to do it - he's bowled the last over a few times for us and he's done a really good job."
The other notable contributors to this win were Brendon McCullum, who hit a brisk 76, and Tim Southee, who dismissed the Akmals, Umar and Kamran. "Brendon played exceptionally well again - he's probably the only batsman who made it look really easy in the last two games while everyone else struggled a bit," said Vettori. "Tim Southee was outstanding for a guy who's only played twenty-odd one-dayers. This shows the confidence of the team - there's still quite a lot of young inexperienced players in there and some guys really stepped up today. They'll take confidence from it and hopefully take it into the Twenty20s as well."
The two sides will now play two Twenty20 matches on November 12-13.