New Zealand Survive Late Charge To Seal Series
New Zealand 211 (McCullum 76, Saeed Ajmal 4-33) beat
Pakistan 207 (Mohammad Aamer 73no, Oram 3-20) by seven runs
Third One-Day International, Abu Dhabi
New Zealand pulled off a seven-run win in the third One-Day International over Pakistan to seal a come-from-behind series win in Abu Dhabi but they were pushed exceptionally hard by Pakistan's lower-order batsmen.
With the series level at 1-1 going into the match, New Zealand were bowled out for 211 but they hit back to eventually dismiss Pakistan for 204 after last-wicket pair Mohammad Aamer and Saeed Ajmal put on 103 before Ajmal holed out in the deep.
Spinners Saeed Ajmal, Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik shared six wickets as Pakistan appeared to be in pole position at the halfway stage but they were undone by another committed effort in the field from the Black Caps.
Just as they had in the second game, Salman Butt (25) and Khalid Latif (19) made an assured start, putting on 47 for the first wicket before they lost eight wickets for just 39 runs to slip to 86 for eight, and out of the reckoning.
Umar Akmal (11) and Shahid Afridi (12) were the only other frontline batsmen to reach double figures as Kyle Mills, Shane Bond, Jacob Oram, Tim Southee and Daniel Vettori shared the wickets around.
Vettori bowled a fine spell of two for 41, his figures bruised when Mohammad Aamer hit him for three sixes in the 35th over but if New Zealand thought that would be a final flourish, they were wrong, Aamer and Ajmal growing in confidence and they frustrated the Black Caps with a mix of excellent strokes, outrageous luck and clever cricket.
Aamer was unbeaten on 73 in 81 balls while Ajmal's 33 was a career-best while 73 set a new record high score for a number ten batsman in ODI cricket.
Earlier, off-spinner Ajmal picked up three leg-before decisions on his way to figures of four for 33 as New Zealand were unable to build on a good start having won the toss and elected to bat first.
Brendon McCullum, who hit 131 in the second game, made 76 in 78 balls before he was caught and bowled by Malik and Ross Taylor hit 44 before becoming the first batsman to be struck on the pad in front of the stumps by Ajmal, who bowled a wonderful spell.
Leg-spinner Afridi had Neil Broom dismissed, also leg before wicket and left-arm quick Aamer finished with two for 41 by removing tail-enders Mills (4) and Southee (4).
Umar Gul picked up his 100th ODI wicket when he had Aaron Redmond caught by Aamer for 21 early on in the day.
The two sides now play two Twenty20 Internationals on 12th and 13th November.
© Cricket World 2009