New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson top-scored for his side with a knock of 97 from 119 balls © AFP
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson top-scored for his side with a knock of 97 from 119 balls © AFP

Dec 19, 2014

New Zealand finished on a score of 275 for the loss of four wickets at the end of their quota of 50 overs against Pakistan during the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Friday. Ross Taylor and Tom Latham were unbeaten on scores of 88 and 22 respectively, while Mohammad Irfan emerged the pick among the Pakistan bowlers, taking two wickets while conceding 62 runs in his 10-over spell.

The game began with the visitors winning the toss and electing to bat. While New Zealand decided to bring in Anton Devcich and Nathan McCullum in place of Corey Anderson, who has been woefully out of form in the series so far, as well as Daniel Vettori, who had to fly home to attend a wedding. Pakistan decided to replace Mohammad Hafeez and Sohail Tanvir with Asad Shafiq and Zulfiqar Babar. New Zealand decided to surprise everyone when they announced bowling coach and former paceman Shane Bond among their reserve players for the game.

New Zealand were off to a slow start, but were handed an early blow when they lost opener Martin Guptill on a score of eight, with just 20 runs on the b0ard for the Kiwis. It was the lofty pacer Irfan who managed to get the early strike for his side again, making Guptill poke a rising delivery, only for him to edge the ball to the slips where Asad Shafiq completed a fine catch.

The skipper walked down to the pitch next, and started to calm things down for the visitors. Brownlie and Williamson began to build a steady partnership, adding 66 runs for the second wicket. Brownlie departed soon after, getting trapped plumb off the bowling of Zulfiqar Babar. Williamson brought up his half-century as New Zealand breached the 100-run mark.

Ross Taylor walked in next for New Zealand, as Williamson began to attack bowlers, especially the spinners. The duo started to play with a free hand soon after, with Williamson looking certain to bring up his second consecutive century and his fifth overall. The New Zealand skipper had earlier completed 2,000 ODI runs when he reached a score of 52, becoming the second-fastest New Zealand batsman to the mark.

The two added 116 for the third wicket, with Williamson feasting on the spinners and pacers alike. Shahid Afridi finally managed to get the breakthrough for the home side, when Williamson attempted to sweep a tossed-up delivery of his. The New Zealand captain managed to get a top-edge, which deflected from his helmet on to the wicket-keeper’s gloves. It was the first time that Williamson was dismissed in the 90’s in his ODI career.

Taylor, who had rediscovered his touch with the bat during the ongoing match, decided to get into the act and try and propel his side to a challenging total. Luke Ronchi was dismissed in the 47th over during one of his attempts to get a big hit. The Kiwis scored 51 runs in their last five overs at a rate of over ten per over, with Taylor remaining on a score of 88 from 95 balls. Tom Latham too chipped in towards the end with a knock of 22 from 14 balls, scoring four boundaries in the process.

With the exception of Shahid Afridi and Mohammad Irfan, it was another average day for the Pakistan bowling department. While Afridi emerged the most economical of the lot with figures of one for 33 in 10 overs, bowlers such as Anwar Ali turned out to be a disappointment as he managed to concede 62 runs from 10 overs without taking a wicket. The onus is once again on the likes of Ahmed Shehzad, Younis Khan and Afridi to help Pakistan chase the target down, while New Zealand will be hoping for some magic from the likes of Matt Henry, Mitchell McClenaghan and Adam Milne.

Brief scores:

New Zealand 275 for 4 in 50 overs (Dean Brownlie 34, Kane Williamson 97, Ross Taylor 88; Mohammad Irfan 2 for 62) vs Pakistan.

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