Chasing a humongous total of 186 to win to keep the three-match Twenty20 series alive, Pakistan opener Mohammad Hafeez met the situation head on and blasted a four and a six of James Franklin in the first over. He then attacked Kyle Mills in the second over, lauching him for two huge maximums.
But his opening partner Shahid Afridi was evidently out of sorts and was bowled by Mills for 7. A couple of relatively quiet overs followed with the new batsman Ahmed Shehzad, settling in before smacking Mills for a boundary through extar cover.
In the 5th over, Hafeez upped the scoring rate by taking Tim Southee for two back-to-back fours. Hafeez then subjected Ian Butler to the same treatment in the next over as Pakistan crossed the 50 mark. Hafeez had a stroke of luck in the 7th over when he was dropped by Ross Taylor at mid off, but Shehzad didn't share the same good fortune and was caught by Scott Styris at deep extra cover for 15 off 14 balls.
What followed was a semi-collapse for Pakistan, as Hafeez was run out for 46 off 30 balls in the 9th over and in the next, Younis Khan got out to spinner McCullum for 3. Pakistan were 76/4 in 10 overs when Umar Akmal and Asad Shafiq tried to put together some reparation. Though Akmal hit a maximum in the 13th over, Shafiq was dismissed mby McCullum for 6 off 11 balls at the start of the 14th and Pakistan had slumped to 96/5 with defeat looking inevitable.
Abdul Razzaq tried to keep Pakistan's hopes alive by smashing a six each of Butler and McCullum, but then immediately fell to the latter bowler for 14 off 8. McCullum added to the tourists woes when just two balls later, got Umar Gul out for a duck. At 114/7 in 16 overs, the end was imminent. The latter order was not able to strike the ball very hard, merely pushing for one and twos before attempting something of a late surge.
But Southee banged the final nail in the coffin when he got Umar Akmal and Wahab Riaz out in successful deliveries in the last over. Shoaib Akhtar struck a four in the penultimate delivery, but Pakistan wound up losing the match by 39 runs. New Zealand now takes the series 2-zip with one more match to be played on Thursday, Dec 30.
The day began with Pakistan winning the toss and putting the Kiwis into bat. Straight off, the tourists might have felt vindicated in that decision as pacer Abdul Razzaq got Jesse Ryder caught behind first ball. New batsman James Franklin, played out the rest of that over and the next quietly, taking New Zealand to 5/1 in 2 overs.
But Martin Guptill stepped on the gas in 3rd over, lofting Razzaq for a six over mid-wicket and then smashing him for a four in the vacant square-leg region. The Kiwis even got a little bonus when Razzaq bowled 4 byes.
In the next over, Guptill laid into Shoaib Akhtar, carting him for a huge six before New Zealand picked up five more runs from an overthrow moving to 34/1 in 4 overs. Guptill then smacked Gul for a four, while Franklin struck Riaz for a six in the next two overs, but leg-spinner Shahid Afridi got through a quiet 7th over, even as the hosts crossed 50. A couple more boundaries followed from the batting pair and Guptill finished off the 10th over with a six off Ajmal to take his side o 83/1.
Just two balls later, however, Afridi accounted for Guptill's wicket when he had him caught by Ajmal at midwicket. The batsman was on his way for 44 off 28 balls. In the 12th over, Afridi pegged back the hosts further when he got Franklin caught behind for 40 off 43 balls.
Shoaib then got in a quiet 14th over as New Zealand crosses 100, but Scott Styris cut loose in the 15th when he smashed Umar Gul for two fours and a six. Styris hit two more maximums and a four before getting out to Shoaib for 34 off a mere 14 balls. At that point New Zealand were looking goof at 117/4 in 15.4 overs.
Ross Taylor carried on from where Styris had left off, striking a six and four in the 17th over off Ajmal. Then in Pakistan's most expensive over of the match, McGlashan got Umar Gul away for three fours and two sixes in five consecutive balls, single handedly taking his side well past 150 by knocking off 25 runs in the over.
Riaz and Ajmal then tried to counter the Kiwi charge with a flurry of quick wickets, as McGlashan departed for 26 off 10 balls, Nathan McCullum walked for 1 off 3 balls, Kyle Mills was stumped for a duck. New Zealand had compiled a very competitive 185/7 in their 20 overs. Now can Pakistan that level of power-hitting?