March 8, Pallekele: Pakistan was left dazed and scratching their heads after a late blitz from Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram which saw a record 127 runs come off the last 8 overs at the Kiwis butchered their way to 302/7 in 50 overs. Birthday boy Taylor celebrated in fine fashion, reaching a century and then laying into the likes of Shoaib Akhtar and Abdur Razzak for an array of sixes and boundaries that saw him reach an unbeaten 131 in 124 balls. Most of Pakistan's bowlers came in for tap, especially Shoaib Akhtar who went for 70 runs from 9 overs and Adbul Razzaq who was hammered for 49 in 4 overs. Umar Gul was Pakistan's most effective bowler, finishing with figures of 3/32 in 10 overs.
The Kiwi innings didn't get off to the best of starts. Shoaib Akhtar came steaming in to bowl Brendon McCullum for 6 in the first over itself, soon after he was swatted for a six. Then Martin Guptill and Jamie How tried to steady the innings, taking their side to over 50 in the 12th over before the latter batsman was trapped in front by Umar Gul for 4 and Kiwis were in spot of bother at 55/2.
But Guptill and Ross Taylor put the house in order, bringing up the Kiwi 100 in the 26th over. Howver, soon afterward, the spinners struck, leg-spinner Shahid Afridi removing Guptill for 57 and Mohammad Hafeez trapping James Franklin in front for 1.
The Black Caps were in trouble at that stage with the score reading 113/4 in 29.1 overs. Scott Styris and Taylor then consolidated and took the innings forward, before the former was trapped in front by Gul for 28. The Kiwis were again in distress at 175/5 in 42 overs.
But that's when a tranformation in the Kiwis' fortunes erupted with Taylor and Nathan McCullum upping the ante. The Kiwis raced past 200 in the 44th over, courtesy a six each from the batting pair off Afridi. But in the middle of the next over, Gul bowled McCullum with a shrewd slower ball. However, Taylor wasn't about to back down.
He took 28 runs of Akhtar in the 46th over, including 3 sixes and 2 fours before subjecting Abdul Razzaq to similar treatment in the 49th over which went for another 30. In between, Jacob Oram got into the act, smashing a six and a four off Abdur Rehman. Then in the final over, Oram continued the carnage when he clobbered Rehman for two more sixes before holing out to long off. Pakistan ended their 50 overs on a massive 302/7 when at one stage it looked like they would barely male 220.