New Zealand 275 for 4 (Williamson 97, Taylor 88*) beat Pakistan 207 (Sohail 65, Shehzad 54, Henry 5-30) by 68 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
New Zealand capped a hard-fought tour of the UAE with a commanding win in the final match to take the ODI series against Pakistan 3-2. The Tests and T20 internationals had been tied 1-1 each. New Zealand had trailed in both those contests, as they did twice in the one-dayers before resiliently rebounding with victories.
Kane Williamson led with the bat again, along with Ross Taylor, as New Zealand posted a stiff total on a slow pitch and the fast bowler Matt Henry blew away the Pakistan top order on his way to a maiden international five-wicket haul. Pakistan had come within a couple of hits of chasing down 300 in the fourth ODI but they fell well short of the target of 276 as their poor record in series-deciders over the past decade continued.
Pakistan's top order had failed to fire throughout the series barring the third match. The trend continued as the express duo of Henry and Adam Milne troubled the batsmen again. Nasir Jamshed failed to review a poor leg-before decision fifth ball of the chase. Younis Khan was caught behind down the leg side trying to work a short ball fine.
Williamson held back his key fast bowlers and introduced himself and Anton Devcich to share the fifth bowler's quota. Forget putting pressure on the part-timers, Pakistan managed 1 for 40 from the 11 overs they bowled. The first boundary of the innings came in the 11th over, and the second arrived only in the 25th.
After Asad Shafiq went leg-before to Devcich, Shehzad found a stable partner in Haris Sohail and two forged a steady 69-run partnership. Shehzad had been reprieved twice, once on 17 when New Zealand did not review a plumb lbw and then on 43 when the keeper Luke Ronchi dropped him, Devcich the bowler to suffer both times. Shehzad gradually found his touch and was timing the ball well as he moved past his fifty, only to gift his wicket away with 169 needed from 22 overs. Henry returned and bowled it short. Shehzad mis-hit it straight to midwicket.
Umar Akmal too found midwicket soon off Nathan McCullum and though Sohail carried on and made 65, the asking-rate demanded too much of him. Henry settled it with the wickets of Sarfraz Ahmed and Shahid Afridi as Pakistan were dismissed in the 44th over.
Williamson bowled five of those for only 18 runs after winning the toss and making his eighth fifty-plus score in ten ODI innings to finish with 346 runs for the series, the most on either side. Ross Taylor accelerated to hit an unbeaten 88 as New Zealand posted 275. The total was 24 short of what New Zealand had barely defended in the fourth ODI but the pitch also played slower than it had two days ago.
Afridi capped a strong all-round series for a return of 1 for 33 but Pakistan conceded 85 in the last ten overs. New Zealand followed the same policy they had on Wednesday with Williamson leading the build-up through the middle overs.
Williamson first partnered with Dean Brownlie for a 66-run stand after Martin Guptill fell early to Mohammad Irfan's steep bounce. Afridi and Sohail kept Williamson and Taylor in check, carrying on from the initial discipline of Irfan and Anwar Ali. Afridi especially was hard to get away with his quickish deliveries on a tight line mixed up with flighted ones.
New Zealand went without a boundary for ten overs at the start and then for 12 overs in the middle stages. Both times, Williamson broke the drought. The lofted shot over extra cover against the spinners came easily to him again.
Taylor was not comfortable at the start and took his time, his first boundary coming only off his 47th delivery, a tickle to fine leg for four. He did not get stuck, though, and drove Irfan down the ground to reach his fifty off 67 deliveries as New Zealand took 35 off the batting Powerplay.
New Zealand were well placed going into the slog with Williamson and Taylor having added 100-plus. Afridi had a couple of overs left, though, and he removed Williamson in his last, the New Zealand captain top-edging a sweep to the wicketkeeper to depart three short of his hundred. Taylor brought out his slog-sweep and connected a few boundaries off Zulfiqar Babar to make sure New Zealand finished strongly. Henry and his fellow bowlers did the rest.