Guptill, Williamson fifties give New Zealand 2-0 series victory in a thriller
New Zealand 265-7 (Williamson 84) beat
Pakistan 290 (Azam 83) by three wickets (D/L)
Third One-Day International in Auckland
Fluent fifties from Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson ensured that New Zealand secured a nervous three-wicket victory over Pakistan in the rain-interrupted second One-Day International in Auckland by chasing down a D/L revised target of 263 runs with just two balls to spare thereby claiming a 2-0 series victory.
Pakistan won the toss and batted first. Brendon McCullum returned for New Zealand taking over the captaincy.
Pakistan received an early jolt when both their openers, Ahmed Shehzad (12) and Azhar Ali (3) were dismissed early in the innings.
Shehzad was caught at mid-wicket off Trent Boult (2-60) in the fifth over while Ali was taken at second slip off Matt Henry (2-44) in the next.
Mohammad Hafeez (76) started positively and brought up the 50-run stand with Babar Azam (83) in just 37 balls. By the time he reached his fifty in the 19th over, Hafeez had already struck five boundaries and three sixes.
Azam reached his fifty in 47 balls and an over later, the 134-run stand for the third wicket was broken as Hafeez holed out to deep backward square leg off Mitchell Santner (1-56).
At the half-way mark, Pakistan were positioned well at 169 for three. Azam added 61 runs with Shoaib Malik (32) for the fourth wicket and the partnership took Pakistan past the 200-run mark.
In the 32nd over, Boult got Malik to edge a delivery to the wicket-keeper while an over later, Azam hit a delivery from Henry straight to the fielder at point. With the two quick wickets, Pakistan were reduced to 227 for five.
Just as Pakistan went past 250, Mohammad Rizwan (16) was run out after a deflection from the bowler hit the stumps at the non-striker’s end.
In the 45th over, Corey Anderson (1-26) got Wahab Riaz (11) to pull a delivery and had him caught by Guptill at mid-wicket. It was Guptill’s fourth catch in the day.
The decisive blow was struck in the 46th over when Adam Milne (3-49) got Mohammad Amir (1) and Rahat Ali (0) to feather edges to the keeper leaving Pakistan at 284 for nine in the 46th over.
Pakistan were eventually bowled out for 290 in 47.3 overs with Sarfraz Ahmed (41) being the last man to fall.
Milne had three wickets while Boult and Henry took two wickets apiece.
Pakistan struck early in the chase when McCullum (0) attempted to pull Amir (2-39) off his first delivery and holed out to fine leg. A slight drizzle began at the ground at that time.
Guptill (82) struck three sixes and a four while Williamson (84) hit three boundaries to push New Zealand to 52 for one in the first powerplay. The duo brought on the fifty-run stand in 55 balls.
Guptill completed his fifty in 54 balls and along with Williamson, he continued to score positively to be ahead of the asking rate.
The play carried on despite the rain picking up intensity. Williamson completed a well-calculated fifty in 60 balls. At the half-way mark, New Zealand needed 135 runs with nine wickets in hand.
In the 27th over, Guptill attempted to take on Azhar (2-37) and popped an easy catch to the fielder at point. Guptill and Williamson had added 159 runs, making it the best second wicket partnership for New Zealand.
Williamson struck a six and a four in the next over but was stumped in the next over trying to take on Azhar.
The procession of wickets continued with Amir trapping Henry Nicholls (5) lbw. A few overs later, Grant Elliott (10) cut a delivery from Malik (1-19) straight to backward point leaving New Zealand at 210 for five.
With the rain increasing its intensity, the umpires took the players off the field and when they returned after a 45 minutes delay the target was revised to 263 from 43 overs which meant the Black Caps needed 53 to win from 45 deliveries.
A 43-run stand between Luke Ronchi (20) and Anderson (35) made it look an easy chase for New Zealand.
In the 39th over, Anderson was handed a reprieve when the umpire turned down a caught behind appeal even with snickometer showing a thin edge.
Pakistan struck with two wickets at the death to take the equation to six runs needed from the final over.
Santner (10 not out) struck two boundaries to seal a three-wicket victory for New Zealand with two balls to spare while also ensuring a 2-0 series win.
Guptill was picked the man of the match for his knock of 82 and to back it up with four catches in the game.
© Cricket World 2016