New Zealand 299 for 5 (Williamson 123, Guptill 58) beat Pakistan 292 for 8 (Younis 103, Afridi 49, Vettori 3-53) by seven runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
New Zealand withstood Younis Khan's first ODI hundred since November 2008 and another thunderous blitz from Shahid Afridi to beat Pakistan by seven runs and tie the series 2-2 going into the final ODI. Kane Williamson built on a strong opening partnership to make his fourth ODI hundred and set a target of 300. Pakistan, reduced to 82 for 4, kept pace with an asking-rate of around nine for nearly half their innings to come within a couple of strokes from victory.
Pakistan's fightback was of staggering proportions. Their top order had been roughed up by searing pace from Adam Milne and Matt Henry. Ahmed Shehzad's off stump had been knocked over by a ripping outswinger second ball. Nasir Jamshed and Younis somehow got through that burst and had started to prosper against the change bowlers when Corey Anderson slipped in a slower one to trap Jamshed lbw. Daniel Vettori consumed Mohammad Hafeez and Haris Sohail cheaply.
Younis and Umar Akmal dug in. Younis had been put down by Ross Taylor at first slip off Milne on 2. He was on the same score after facing 19 deliveries. Pakistan were to go without a boundary for 11 overs against the combination of Vettori and pace.
Then Younis woke up, with a slog-swept six off Vettori in the 30th over. Sensing some momentum, Pakistan took the batting Powerplay in the 32nd. Younis, who had been made to hop by sharp bouncers, swung Henry for six more. Akmal hared between the wickets to motor to 29 as Pakistan collected 45 off the Powerplay.
Then misfortune struck. Younis slammed a straight drive, the bowler Mitchell McClenaghan got a hand to it, the ball ricocheted on to the non-striker's stumps, and Akmal was out of his ground. The partnership was worth 90 in 14.4 overs, Younis' contribution 56.
In came Afridi and Pakistan surged faster. This stand grew to 66 in just seven overs. Younis contributed 15. Afridi ransacked 49 off 25. Pulls, sweeps, slogs. The express Henry lost his line and bowled a wide. Afridi walloped the extra delivery for six more.
The second express bowler, Milne, stepped up now. With 62 needed from 42, he had Afridi edging behind. In the next over, Younis missed a slog off fellow veteran Vettori to depart for 103 off 117, only 28 of his runs having come in boundaries.
Sarfraz Ahmed flickered briefly but a McClenaghan bouncer took care of him. The ninth-wicket pair of Anwar Ali and Sohail Tanvir scored 31 off the remaining 23 balls, but fell just short.
New Zealand's innings did not have the kind of thrills Pakistan's had, but Williamson's smooth acceleration meant they took 91 off their last ten overs. Going into the Powerplay, Williamson had hit only two fours but was still going at a healthy rate on 41 off 49. He ended with 12 fours, accelerating to 123 off 104 before he was bowled off the last ball of the innings by Mohammad Irfan.
The New Zealand openers Dean Brownlie and Martin Guptill had looked good for plenty more before giving it away. Both had no problems against the new balls on the slow pitch. They played safely against Irfan but powerfully dispatched Tanvir through the packed off-side infield. The introduction of Anwar Ali and Shahid Afridi slowed down the pace of scoring a bit but Pakistan did not look like breaking through before Brownlie provided them the opening at the stroke of the first drinks break. It was a short ball from Afridi but Brownlie could not keep a whip down and found midwicket on 42.
The solid Williamson joined Guptill and the partnership grew to 44 at run-a-ball, causing Afridi to shuffle his bowlers around in search of a wicket. Tanvir was brought back and Guptill tried to force him off the back foot only to nick behind for 58.
Williamson moved past 50 with a series of calm straight drives and repeatedly made room to lift the fast bowlers over extra cover at the death, using the size of the outfield to run 15 twos. Pakistan did not help themselves by bowling short with mid-off up. Williamson also walked outside off stump to pull often and reached his century off 92 balls with such a stroke off Irfan.
Williamson put on 72 for the fifth wicket with Tom Latham. Williamson's dominance was evident as Latham contributed 14 to the stand, turning the strike over regularly to his captain. It was enough in the end, but barely.