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Pakistan clinch series with 51-run win

A solid batting display, coupled with a miserly bowling attack spearheaded by Mohammad Sami, gave Pakistan a 51-run win, a series-clinching win, over New Zealand at Faisalabad

Pakistan 314 for 7 (Farhat 91, Youhana 64) beat New Zealand 263 for 7 (Marshall 101*, Sami 3 for 22) by 51 runs, and lead five-match series 3-0

Inzamam-ul-Haq - not much batting in his 300th ODI
© AFP 2003

Hamish Marshall's courageous century notwithstanding, a mismanaged New Zealand run-chase of an admittedly steep target resulted in a 51-­run win for Pakistan at Faisalabad, sealing the five-match series in their favour with two games still to come.
New Zealand charged far too late at the target, and Marshall's 101, made off 109 deliveries, came largely after the game was obviously lost. Pakistan's bowling, for its part, capitalised on a professional batting performance to deny the New Zealanders even a slim chance of keeping the series alive.
Faced with inspired bowling from Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami, who induced numerous false strokes, New Zealand's top order failed to take off. Neither opener lasted long: Akhtar first removed Craig Cummings (10) with a snorter (12 for 1), and Abdul Razzaq then had Richard Jones mis-hitting to square leg (58 for 2). Mathew Sinclair's quest for quick runs ended soon afterwards, with a direct run-out courtesy of Yousuf Youhana (81 for 3).
Chris Harris, who replaced Sinclair, then proceeded to up the run rate with a range of strokes not to be found in any coaching manual. One particular shot - a four to midwicket, dug out off a searing Razzaq yorker - characterised the innovation that Harris brought to the chase, just when his side needed it most.
Unfortunately for New Zealand, Harris could not ride his luck long enough. After sharing a plucky 107-run stand with Marshall, he played over a Sami inswinger that smashed into his stumps (188 for 4). With only eight overs remaining to score 127, the target proved to be beyond even Chris Cairns, who swung Sami to midwicket (206 for 5) after making just 9. Marshall meanwhile hung on gamely at the other end, watching the wickets tumble, and he needed no second invitation to reach three figures when Imran Farhat, Saleem Elahi and Yasir Hameed came on to bowl at the end of the innings.
Earlier, the assault on New Zealand's underpowered line-up continued as Pakistan rattled up 314 for 7, demolishing the bowling for the third time in as many games. It was a perfect innings on a good batting pitch - a solid start that built on Farhat's sparkling 91, sprightly partnerships in the middle, and a phenomenal last ten overs. No matter where the ball was bowled, Pakistan's batsmen seemed to find the fence.

Hamish Marshall - a fine maiden century, but in vain
© AFP 2003

The 113 runs scored during the slog overs flowed mainly to Youhana and Razzaq, whose lower-order hitting has bruised New Zealand in each match of this series so far. Their 53-run partnership in just 19 balls was an exhibition of destructive batting. The raw medium-pacer Matthew Walker ended with four wickets, all of which came in the final push for quick runs.
The big total was built largely on a solid start. Farhat and Hameed played out the first ten overs, when the opening bowlers exploited a pitch with some bounce. Michael Mason and Kerry Walmsley were impressive in their first spells, giving nothing away in terms of line and length. But towards the end of the first 15 overs, both batsmen milked the medium-pace of Cairns and Walker. While Hameed was all power, Farhat was all grace, and both were equally effective.
Hameed scored his third successive fifty before gifting his wicket in an effort to clear the boundary (142 for 1). Farhat went on to score a half-century as well, but missed out on three figures by nine runs. Attempting a big hit off Daniel Vettori, he was brilliantly caught by Marshall at midwicket (183 for 2). Vettori was unlucky, though, going for runs even as he appeared to be the bowler most likely to make a breakthrough.
Farhat's dismissal brought Inzamam-ul-Haq to the crease, and he scored a quickfire 25 in his 300th one-day international to set the tone for the late-innings savagery. Youhana's 53-ball 64 and Razzaq's 34 off just 16 balls merely drove the nails more thunderously into the coffin of this depleted New Zealand outfit.