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New Zealand seal ODI series by winning the 3rd ODI against Pakistan

846   //    31 Jan 2016, 13:00 IST
Jubilant New Zealand players with the winners trophy.

After winning the three-match T20I series against Pakistan, New Zealand also won the three-match ODI series today at Eden Park, Auckland. The New Zealand cricket team have won every home series they have played since October 2014, in all formats.

They won the series 2-0 with the second match was abandoned due to rain. The third ODI was also interrupted briefly by nature but in the end, the contest took place as the host won the match by three wickets via Duckworth-Lewis method. The visitors have to go home with only one win in the whole tour.

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali won the toss and elected to bat first but they did not have a good start as the lost both their openers Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad in quick successions. Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam put on a valiant 134-run third wicket partnership to bring back the visitors into the game.

Hafeez got out on 76 of just 60 balls, his innings compiled of five fours and five massive maximums. Youngster Babar Azam was Pakistan’s highest scorer with a brilliant 83. He played the sheet anchor’s role to guide his side’s comeback from a tough situation.

Unfortunately, Azam missed out on his first international hundred but with this innings, he announced his existence in world cricket. Wicketkeeper-batsman Sarfaraz Ahmed also contributed with the bat with his 41. The visitors put up a good total of 290 after getting all out in 47.3 overs.

The pick of the Kiwi bowlers was clearly Adam Milne, as he picked up three wickets. Opening fast-bowlers Trent Boult and Matt Henry picked up two important wickets apiece. Corey Anderson and Mitchell Santner also chipped in with one wicket each.

In reply, the New Zealand had a horrific start as they lost their captain and opening aggressive batsman Brendon McCullum on the first ball of the second over. After the early setback, the Blackcaps got themselves back into the game through the in-form batsmen Martin Guptill and vice-captain Kane Williamson. They put up a 159-run second wicket stand and provided a solid platform for the middle-order batsmen to chase down the score which was changed via Duckworth-Lewis method due to rain.

The second innings was reduced to 43 overs and the new target for the Kiwis to chase was 265. Both Guptill and Williamson missed out to convert their scores into three figures. All-rounder Corey Anderson also played a quick-fire innings of 35 of 29 balls as the hosts reached the new target with three wickets and 2 balls remaining.

The star of Pakistan’s bowling was returning pacer Mohammad Amir, who picked up two very important wickets including that of the Kiwi captain. Pakistan captain Azhar Ali also picked up two wickets. Mohammad Irfan, Rahat Ali and Wahab Riaz also chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Brief Scores: NZ 265/7 (Williamson 84, Guptill 82; Ali 2/37, Amir 2/39) beat Pakistan (toss) 290 all out (Azam 83, Hafeez 76; Milne 3/49, Henry 2/44) by 3 wickets. (D/L method)

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