HAMILTON: New Zealand coasted to an easy victory against Pakistan with five wickets to spare in the fourth One-Day International in Hamilton on Tuesday.
Although the green shirts seemed to be in control with a solid 262-run total in the first innings, the black caps were able to meet the target with 25 balls remaining.
Colin de Grandhomme racked up the highest total on the NZ side, with 74 runs not out by the end of the match, while his partner Henry Nicholls had the third-highest total with 52 runs.
The match appeared to be going in Pakistan’s favour until the tail-end partnership upended the game. Grandhomme wrested back control with seven 4s and five 6s.
Young Shadab Khan put up a high-class display of legspin bowling, taking three of five wickets.
Rumman Raees took two wickets while Harris Sohail bagged one.
The black caps began the innings with a steady 56 by Colin Munro and 31 by Martin Guptil. The game appeared to be going against them when the first wicket fell in the 14th over with 88 runs on the board.
Following Munro’s lead, Guptil made his way back to the pavilion in the 16th over. Ross Tailor added just one more run to the gross total before he was declared lbw on Rumman’s delivery.
Tom Latham was sent back to the pavilion by Shadab with just 8 runs to his name. Kane Williamson, with 32 runs to his name. was caught by Rumman on a delivery by Harris.
Earlier in the day, Mohammad Hafeez top scored with 81 as the tourists’ batsmen finally managed to notch some runs, with Fakhar Zaman, Sohail and captain Sarfraz Ahmed also posting half centuries.
Paceman Tim Southee led the New Zealand attack with three for 44 and skipper Kane Williamson took two for 32.
Pakistan finished their 50-over innings at 262 for eight, thanks to some big-hitting from Hafeez, who smashed 22 from the final over.
It was a gutsy fightback from a side that was reeling at 11 for two in the fifth over and looked in danger of another humiliation after being skittled for 74 in their last outing.
Already 3-0 in the five-match series, Pakistan had little to lose and promoted hard-hitting allrounder Faheem Ashraf to open the batting in the search for runs.
The gamble backfired when Faheem departed for one after edging a swinging Southee delivery to the wicketkeeper in the third over, bringing Babar Azam to the crease.
He lasted only nine balls before becoming Southee’s second victim, trudging back to the pavilion with only three runs to his name.
Fakhar Zaman was lucky not to follow him on seven when he spooned the ball to mid-wicket, only for Colin Munro to drop the chance.
Fakhar made the most of his life, bringing up his half-century off 68 balls as part of a productive 86-run partnership with Haris Sohail before departing for 54.
Haris, returning to the ODI arena for the first time since 2015, also failed to push on after reaching 50, smashing the ball to Henry Nicholls on the boundary as he looked for a big six.
Incoming batsman Shoaib Malik had an injury scare as he ran into the path of fielder Munro’s throw while trying to scamper back to his crease and the ball hit him flush on the head.
Shoaib, who was not wearing a helmet, fell down onto the wicket but was able to continue after consultations with team medics, although he was dismissed in the next over.
Pakistan were 175 for five with 10 overs remaining before Sarfraz and partner Hafeez stepped up the pace. Sarfraz Ahmed reached 51 off 46 balls while Hafeez’s 81 included five fours and four sixes.