Yasir Hameed and Imran Farhat put on 197 glorious runs for the first wicket
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Pakistan 277 for 4 (Hameed 127*, Farhat 107) beat New Zealand 228 for 6 (Marshall 62*, Jones 49) by 49 runs, and won the series 5-0
Yasir Hameed and Imran Farhat notched up commanding hundreds as Pakistan beat New Zealand by 49 runs in the final one-day international at Rawalpindi. The victory completed a 5-0 rout in the series, and struck a psychological blow to Pakistan's opponents before the upcoming tour of New Zealand.
Hamish Marshall stood out for New Zealand, scoring an fighting unbeaten 62, after his more distinguished team-mates failed to make much of a fist of the run-chase. Good technique, a keen eye, late adjustments, and good judgment of a run were the building blocks of Marshall's innings.
New Zealand required a good start - the kind the Pakistan openers have provided with astonishing consistency - if they were to have a fighting chance. However, Richard Jones and Craig Cumming found it difficult to get the ball away on the slow pitch. Not many strokes were played with authority, except for Cumming's savage hook off Shoaib Akhtar and a glorious cover-drive off Shabbir Ahmed's first delivery. Even singles were hard to find. The run-drought continued when Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood replaced the opening bowlers with their sharp medium-pace.
Cumming struggled throughout his stay, and though he showed glimpses of attacking form, the miserly bowling had him groping for runs, until an offcutter by Razzaq trapped him in front (50 for 1). Even Jones, otherwise characteristically watchful, had a zany moment in the 21st over, when he casually flicked Razzaq over midwicket for six. One run short of his half-century, though, Jones played the ball on to his pad and ran halfway down the pitch, only to hear Mathew Sinclair shout a late refusal. Farhat picked up the ball and threw down the stumps before Jones could regain his crease (106 for 2).
The mounting run rate claimed its next casualty when Sinclair (36) played a delivery to short third man and wandered down the pitch for a single. Azhar collected the ball and hurled it to Moin Khan, who did the rest (141 for 3). Chris Cairns's atrocious day at the office came to an end when he swung a delivery from Akhtar to Shoaib Malik at square leg. Jacob Oram then ran himself out, and Brendon McCullum stood no chance when Azhar struck him right in front with an inswinging yorker (179 for 6).
Amid the carnage, Marshall refused to concede ground, tackling pace with daring cuts, and Malik's spin with deft glances. An express delivery from Akhtar was lifted over the keeper's head for four with time to spare. His fine exhibition made him New Zealand's highest runscorer in this series.
The first session had also belonged to Pakistan, as Farhat and Hameed put on 197 and strode to the pavilion with enhanced reputations with a pair of centuries to their name. New Zealand will remember the first match of the series with longing: Pakistan's opening stand in that one was 2. After that, the openers put on four century stands, a telling comment on how the team has achieved big totals with regularity.
Farhat rode his luck against some good-length bowling by Oram and Daryl Tuffey, edging the odd delivery past slip. But the hazards of attacking on a tricky pitch did not hold him back as he powerfully hooked and drove successive balls to the fence. The friendly medium-pace of Cairns and Paul Hitchcock served up some shortand over-pitched deliveries, which were dispatched to the boundary with panache, and even Hameed, who had played with extreme caution, cashed in on a few loose balls. The openers reached their half-centuries in contrasting fashion, with Farhat on the attack while his partner played it safe.
And there were no nerves when Farhat reached his first one-day century after three near-misses. But his quest for quick runs brought about his downfall, as a lofted shot off Canning ended in a catch in the deep (197 for 1). A mini-collapse ensued, and demonstrated the difficulty in scoring runs, before Hameed took the onus on himself to score rapidly, and reached his century in a flurry of boundaries.
Razzaq, a success in every previous knock in this series, could not help chipping a ball to long-on bringing, a meek end to his explosive series (204 for 2). Shoaib Malik misjudged a quick run to cover, and was short of his crease by a comfortable margin. It was left to Moin Khan to score 14, including an effortless six over midwicket, as Pakistan scampered 277 - rather less than looked likely when the openers were going so well.
But in the end it was more than enough, as New Zealand conceded the advantage to a reinvigorated Pakistan team that played with great style throughout this five-match series.