Pallekele, March 8: It turned out to be a largely one-sided affair at Pallekele on Tuesday, as New Zealand romped home to a resounding 110-run victory over Pakistan. Chasing an imposing total of 302/7, Pakistan never really looked like they were in with a chance as they lost wickets frequently.
The Kiwis seamers got on top of the Pakistani batsmen early, Tim Southee emerging the most successful bowler with figures of 3/25. He was given adequate support from Kyle Mills who finished with 2/43, Scott Styris with 2/17 and from off-spinner Nathan McCullum, who pitched in with 2/28. Pakistan's top-scorer was Abdul Razzaq who put on a valiant 62 off 74 balls and shared in a 66-run stand with Umar Gul. But it was too little too late for the Pakistanis as they were bundled out for 192 in 41.4 overs.
Mohammad Hafeez started off the Pakistani innings in a positive manner, smacking Kiwi fast bowler Kyle Mills for a four in the first over. But in the very next, he was trapped in front by Tim Southee and Pakistan were 5/1.
A few quiet overs passed as the Kiwi seamers tucked up the batsman with a tight line, before Mills dealt Pakistan a double blow. He first had Ahmed Shehzad lbw for 10, and then bowled Younis Khan for a duck three balls later. In the following over, Southee had Kamran Akmal caught behind for 8, reducing Pakistan to a shocking 23/4 in 7.1 overs.
Pakistan took the batting powerplay in the 10th over, perhaps in a bid to offset the pressure. But the move backfired on them as in the 15th over, Misbah-ul-Haq was caught at gully for 7. The new batsman - captain Shahid Afridi - counter-atacked by striking two back-to-back fours off Jacob Oram and then carted James Franklin for a six over wide long on. But that's all the heroics he could manage to pull, as he was bowled by Oram in the next over for 17.
Pakistan were in dire straights at 66/6 in 17.1 overs. Abdul Razzaq settled in with a four and together with Umar Akmal took Pakistan past 100 in the 27th over. But off-spinner Nathan McCullum spelt doom for Umar in the 29th over when he induced him into a top edge which was comfortably taken by Oram at deep midwicket. Pakistan's tail was now exposed at 106/7.
Abdur Rehman tried to support Razzaq as the latter launched a counter-offensive, striking Scott Styris for two consecutive fours in the 32nd over. But McCullum returned to trap Rehman in front for 1 and Pakistan was 125/8 in 32.4 overs. Then in last ditched attempt ast reviving the innings, Razzaq and Umar Gul began clobbering the bowling. In the 37th over, Razzaq struck a four off Mills and Gul knocked off a boundary and a six.
The duo took the the score to 191/8 before Razzaq was swallowed up at long on for 62 off the bowling of Styris. Just one run later, the same bowler removed Shoaib Akhtar for a duck and New Zealand had won the game by 110 runs in 41.4 overs.