Another Clinical Performance by Green Shirts

All was set for an excellent encounter as Pakistan was looking for a series win while Kiwis were battling to keep the series alive. The toss went in Kiwis favour but it was the only thing that went their way.Ahmad Shehzad, the next generation of Pakistan cricket, came out and blasted out the Kiwis to all parts of the ground. The young man from Lahore scored his maiden ODI century in style. He attacked the pacers and took the aerial route with utmost ease. He looked to be in his zone and every thing he hit went for his desired results. The NZ seemed mere spectators during his knock and never seemed like picking him up.

Ahmed Shehzad made an attacking century, his first in ODIs, to set up Pakistan's 41-run win which also gave them the series © Getty Images

Ahmad and Hafeez started well but then Hafeez lost his way scooping one to mid-off. Kamran Akmal looked good in patches, but when he seemed slightly at home, he unfortunately got run-out. Then the ever calm Younis Khan walked in, and a partnership began to develop. Ahmed took the aggressive role while Younis kept the runs flowing. Younis lost his wicket at a vital juncture in the game with Pakistan at 120-3. Misbah as usual came in and went about his business with nudges and pokes. Then run rate always remained good, thanks to Ahmad’s aggressive batting at the other end. The highlight of his innings came when he smacked Bennet for a six while being in nineties. He brought up his century in 101 balls. Unfortunately for Pakistan he got out with at just the wrong time, leaving Pakistan handsomely placed at 197-4 and a perfect platform for the likes of Umar Akmal, Shahid Afridi and Abdul Razzaq to take them past 300. But the Kiwis fought back well, taking pace right out off the ball and making shot making difficult. None of the potential big-hitters in the team could fire and thus left Pakistan well short of expected target. The green-shirts finished with 268-9. A total well within the reach of Kiwi’s deep batting line-up.

However, Kiwis got off to a disastrous start as Jesse Ryder got run out without facing a ball. Jamie How seemed out of sorts, but Guptill seemed to be in his zone. They played with caution and a slow partnership began to develop. However, How got bogged down and threw away his wicket in familiar fashion, pulling it to deep mid-wicket. Thats the third time in the series that he has got out this way. In walked the skipper, Taylor went about with his nudges, picking up singles and couples to get going. A steady partnership grew between Guptill and Taylor, with required run-rate in check, Kiwis were at an advantage. Pakistan changed the bowling, bringing in Shoaib Akhtar to break the partnership after the spinners bowled economically. Guptill threw it away after getting 65, and Brendon McCullum and Styris followed soon after leaving Kiwis 150-5 and match tilting slightly in Pakistan’s favour. But, Taylor was still there and was grinding it out for NZ. Economical bowling from the spin twins meant mounting pressure on the NZ’s pair, which eventually led to the downfall of Taylor and Franklin. The lower order seemed inept in front of pacy reverse swing of Riaz and Gul. And the Black Caps were all out in 46.5 over with 227 on board, falling short by 41 runs.

Overall a clinical performance from the green-shirts, sending waves of optimism among the fans about their future.

Martin Guptill was in excellent touch again but New Zealand needed more than his 65 © Getty Images

Pakistan wins an away series after quite a while, and seems ready for the upcoming challenges awaiting them in the World Cup. The team seems in good shape, with every player contributing his bit. For Kiwis, they need to find a batsman who can score triple figures for them.


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