A withering spell by Trent Boult saw New Zealand destroy Pakistan by 183 runs in the third One-Day International to comfortably wrap up the series in Dunedin on Saturday (January 13).
Boult rocked Pakistan with three wickets in five balls to take out the cream of their top order on his way to figures of 5 for 17.
New Zealand, batting first, were restricted to 257, with their innings boosted by 11 off the final over before Boult was dismissed on the last ball.
Then, after Boult’s near unplayable overs, Pakistan were all out for 74 in the 28th over to give New Zealand an unbeatable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
“It was a big game for us. We wanted to get the series done,” said Boult, the man of the match. “To score only 250 on the board we knew we had to fight hard and to come out like that was very satisfying.”
Kane Williamson said the target now was to remain unbeaten. “That’s the focus. The focus is trying to win each game. The guys were smart today and that’s something we pride ourselves on,” he said. “It was a fantastic performance all round. Trent was outstanding getting five.
At 32 for 8, Pakistan were threatening two unwanted records — the lowest ODI score of 35, held by Zimbabwe, and Pakistan’s own lowest score of 43 — before Sarfraz Ahmed (14 not out), Mohammad Amir (14) and Rumman Raees (16) delayed the inevitable finish.
Boult was in action in the second over when Azhar Ali was caught by Ross Taylor at first slip without scoring. Fakhar Zaman was bowled for two and Taylor also caught Mohammad Hafeez for a duck in Boult second over, and Pakistan were sinking fast.
If New Zealand thought they were slow making 37 for 1 off the first 10 overs, Pakistan were in dire trouble at 9 for 3 at the same stage. Things went from bad to worse, though, as Babar Azam was unnecessarily run out for eight to start another slide.
In the following over Shoaib Malik was caught by Taylor off Lochie Ferguson for three and seven balls later Colin Munro bowled Shadab Khan for naught and Pakistan were 16 for 6 in the 15th over.
With light drizzle falling, but not strong enough to send the players off the field, Faheem Ashraf gave Pakistan supporters something to cheer about when he top-edged Ferguson for six. But on 10, Faheem was gone hooking Ferguson to Todd Astle at fine leg, before Boult came back to claim Amir and Rumman to end the innings.
“It was very disappointing, a tough loss,” said Sarfraz. “Our bowlers bowled very well but the problems continue with the batting which again flopped. The problem is (facing) the new ball.”
Pakistan came to New Zealand on a nine-match winning streak and the promise of providing a more formidable opposition for New Zealand who had just swept a series against Windies.
After losing the first two matches they arrived in Dunedin needing to win and had their tails up when Munro went for eight in the second over.
But half-centuries to Williamson and Ross Taylor and Martin Guptill’s 45 set New Zealand up. Williamson never looked particularly fluent but reached 73 off 101 deliveries while Taylor made 52 off 64 deliveries.
Pakistan took seven wickets for 48 in the last eight overs, but that made little difference in the end.