Hafeez Century Sets Up Pakistan Victory
Mohammad Hafeez hit 115 as Pakistan hit back to level their six-match One-Day International series against New Zealand with a 43-run win in the third match in Christchurch.
Hafeez's innings helped Pakistan post 293 for seven and New Zealand then closed on 250 for nine and the series remains locked at 1-1 with three games remaining.
Batting first, Pakistan started poorly when they lost Ahmed Shahzad (0) and Kamran Akmal (6) cheaply but Hafeez stood firm, facing 144 balls and hitting 12 fours and two sixes.
He finally found some support from Umar Akmal, who made 44 and following Hafeez's dismissal, captain Shahid Afridi blasted 65 in 25 deliveries, hammering five fours and five sixes to steer Pakistan to a handy total despite Kyle Mills, Tim Southee and Hamish Bennett all taking two wickets.
Only New Zealand Ross Taylor (6) then failed to reach double figures as the home side gave every indication that they would take the game to the wire.
However, Pakistan kept themselves in the game by taking regular wickets and although Scott Styris (46), Kane Williamson (42) and Martin Guptill (39) all made excellent contributions, the runs were not coming quickly enough.
Pacers Sohail Tanvir, Wahab Riaz and Umar Gul all took two wickets as Pakistan eventually bowled themselves into a winning position with Hafeez more than justifying his man-of-the-match award by taking a catch as well as the key wicket of Styris.
The fourth match is in Napier on 1st February.
© Cricket World 2011