Pakistan win a series in NZ after 17 years

AUCKLAND (Agencies) - Pakistan won their first one-day series after 17 years when they beat New Zealand by 41 runs in the fifth game of their six-match series at Seddon Park in Hamilton on Thursday. The victory, courtesy of Ahmed Shehzad's 115 and a polished bowling performance gave Pakistan an unassailable 3-1 lead in the series, with only the final match to be played at Eden Park in Auckland on Saturday. Pakistan made a below-par 268 for nine, but New Zealand wasted a golden opportunity to level the series with only Martin Guptill (65) and stand-in captain Ross Taylor (69) posting any scores of substance in their 227 all out in 46.5 overs. The hosts had looked well set to push for victory when Taylor was batting with James Franklin in the 42nd over, but when Taylor, who had survived a confident leg before appeal by Shahid Afridi, was given out in the same over their run chase disappeared. New Zealand have now lost 14 of their last 15 completed one-day internationals. Pakistan's innings had been anchored by Shehzad's first one-day international century, which he brought up with a push to square leg after he wandered across his stumps to well outside off to give himself some room. His century came off 101 balls, with 11 fours and two sixes, and the 19-year-old looked to increase the scoring rate even further once he reached the milestone but was caught in the deep by Franklin off Scott Styris in the 38th over. The visitors had looked well set to push on to 300-plus on a good pitch with short boundaries and while several batsmen got starts, New Zealand's bowlers varied their pace and length to restrict the scoring in the final few overs. Meanwhile, Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi has described the series win against New Zealand as a timely win for the team. Pakistan defeated the Kiwis in the fifth One day International (ODI) of the six-match series to clinch the series by 3-1. The visitors were down after they lost the first match at Wellington, but they bounced back in the series winning three back-to-back matches. After the match, Afridi said that he expected this effort from his team and he was very much pleased with the combined effort of all the players. According to the Pakistan captain, this will give the team confidence ahead of the WC, which will be starting from the 19th of February, 2011. An extraordinary effort by the youngster Ahmed Shehzad, who scored his maiden century in today's match, paved way for Pakistan to post a match winning total on the board. The youngster scored 115 runs off just 109 balls and laid a solid platform for the middle-order batsmen. Afridi praised Ahmed and said, "Ahmed Shehzad, what a talent he is. But yes, given the way that we were playing, I expected us to reach 300, 300-plus but in the middle, the wicket became a bit slow, and they [New Zealand] bowled very well towards the end." Although Pakistan didn't get what they expected at the end of their 50 overs, the bowlers did a very good job to bowl-out the Kiwis for just 227 runs. Pakistan captain also praised the efforts of his bowlers; Afridi himself bowled exceptionally well. He had also scored 24 runs when he came out to bat. Wahab Riaz took three wickets for Pakistan and he got good support from Umar Gul and Afridi, who took two wickets each. Fielding was also good for the visitors today as two of the Kiwi batsmen were run-out. Although the hosts lost the match and the series, the stand-in captain of the team Ross Taylor praised the effort of his bowlers. He said, "I think we were very happy to restrict them to 268, the way that Kyle [Mills] and Jacob [Oram] brought us back into the game. They were looking to get a score well over 300 and to restrict them to 268 was a very good job." Taylor said that batting let the team down yet again. Although the team had a good platform after half-centuries from Taylor and Martin Guptill, the lower middle-order collapsed and the team lost their last 5 wickets for just 35 runs. The Pakistan camp will be more than happy with their effort, and will be looking to end the series on a high by winning the last match as well. The team seems to be hitting form just at the right time and the series win will give their confidence a massive boost ahead of the ICC World Cup 2011. Meanwhile, Pakistan's professional performance in Hamilton to wrap up the One-Day International series with New Zealand, with a game to play, delighted coach Waqar Younis. It wasn't only the batsmen or the bowlers, it was the whole team, he said. Pakistan won by 41 runs to go up 3-1 with only the Auckland game on Saturday to play. "In the field we were pretty sharp, we held our catches and we put the partnerships together and we were spot on," he said. "It has been a while," he said of the series win. "Unfortunately, we have been playing some good cricket but we haven't been winning anything."We haven't won anything in a long while, especially in New Zealand so it is definitely pleasing for everyone." Waqar said his side's situation before had been the same as New Zealand's now. The top-order had not been clicking. Ahmed Shehzad played an outstanding knock. He took his time and made full use of that beautiful pitch to bat on and was followed by all the middle-order and lower-order. They all chipped in," he said. There was special delight for him after the controversies that have swirled around the side over the last 10 months and he said he was especially pleased that some of the older players recalled to the side had been able to make a difference. scorecard Pakistan innings M. Hafeez c McCullum b Mills 14 A Shehzad c Franklin b Styris 115 K Akmal run out 17 Younus Khan c Styris b N. McCullum 21 Misbah-ul-haq c Oram b Styris 25 Umar Akmal run out 32 S Afridi c Guptill b Oram 24 A Razzaq c How b Mills 3 W Riaz not out 2 Umar Gul c Ryder b Oram 1 Extras: (b-7, w-4, nb-1, lb-2) 14 Total: (for nine wkets, 50 overs) 268 FOW: 1-20, 2-73, 3-120, 4-197, 5-205, 6-248, 7-252, 8-265, 9-268 Bowling: Mills 10-2-42-2, Bennett 8-0-56-0, Oram 10-0-49-2 (1w), N. McCullum 10-0-40-1, Styris 9-0-51-2 (2w), Franklin 3-0-21-0 (1w,1nb) New Zealand innings M Guptill c Umar b Shoaib 65 J Ryder run out (Misbah) 0 J How c Hafeez b Wahab 12 R Taylor lbw b Afridi 69 B McCullum c sub b Afridi 9 S. Styris run out (Younus) 9 J Franklin b Wahab 16 N McCullum b Gul 14 J Oram c Umar b Gul 10 K Mills not out 4 H Bennett b Wahab 3 Extras (lb-8, w-7, nb-1) 16 Total: (all out, 46.5 overs) 227 FOW: 1-0 2-53 3-112 4-131 5-150 6-192 7-194 8-207 9-222 10-227 Bowling: Abdul Razzaq 4-1-19-0, Shoaib Akhtar 8-0-32-1 (1w), Wahab Riaz 8.5-0-51-3 (1nb, 5w), Umar Gul 7-0-28-2, Shahid Afridi 10-0-55-2, M Hafeez 9-0-34-0 (1w)

ePaper - Nawaiwaqt