NZ clinch thriller to win series
Black Caps survive last-wicket century stand to defeat Pakistan by seven runs.
Last Modified: 09 Nov 2009 20:46

Pakistan's Mohammad Aamer puts on a battling performance [AFP] 
New Zealand clinched a thrilling victory in their third one-day international against Pakistan despite a valiant effort by Mohammad Aamer hitting a world-record 73 not out at No10 for the Pakistani's.

The result meant the Black Caps clinched the series 2-1 at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi.

Chasing 212 to win, Pakistan slumped from 47-0 to 101-9 in the 34th over.

But Aamer stepped up to the challenge and added 103 with Saeed Ajmal for the last wicket - second only to the 106 put on by West Indies' Viv Richards and Michael Holding against England in 1984 - to take Pakistan within reach of victory until Ajmal was out with five balls remaining.

Jacob Oram took the final wicket to finish with 3-20, while Tim Southee claimed 2-26.

The teams will meet again in the Twenty20 internationals on November 12 and 13 in Dubai.

Tremendous performance

Aamer hit seven fours and three sixes in 81 balls to easily beat the previous highest score for a No 10 batsman, held by Douglas Marillier after scoring 56 not out for Zimbabwe against India in 1998.

Ajmal scored 33 off 44 deliveries. He earlier took a career-best 4-33 to help bowl out the Kiwis, who lost their last six wickets for 24 runs after Brendon McCullum hit 76 and Ross Taylor 44.

"We missed a lot of chances, a couple of decisions went against us and things were not going their way. It was a relief to finish it off,'' Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori said.

"A series win is a confidence booster. We are ranked ahead of Pakistan and we won despite the conditions being in their favour.''

New Zealand won the toss and elected to bat, with McCullum and Aaron Redmond putting on 72 for the first wicket. Gul provided the breakthrough in the 12th over when Redmond's top edge went to Aamer at third man to be out for 21.

Five overs later, Martin Guptill was out for 8 to a brilliant diving catch from captain Younis Khan off Ajmal.

McCullum, whose century helped New Zealand win the second game, was caught and bowled by Shoaib Malik. His departure with the score on 138-3 started his team's slide and an end to the innings in the 47th over.

Bright start

ODI scorecard

New Zealand innings

B McCullum c&b Malik 76
A Redmond c Aamer b Gul 21
M Guptill c Younus b Ajmal 8
R Taylor lbw b Ajmal 44
S Styris run out 14
D Vettori lbw b Ajmal 15
NT Broom lbw Afridi 0
J Oram lbw b Ajmal 2
KD Mills c Ajmal b Aamer 4
S Bond not out 11
T Southee c Razzaq b Aamer 4
Extras 12
Total (all out, 46.3 overs) 211
Fall of wickets 1-72 2-88 3-138 4-164 5-187 6-188 7-190 8-194 9-198 10-211

Pakistan innings

S Butt run out 25
K Latif lbw b Vettori 19
Y Khan c Taylor b Bond 3
S Malik c Styris b Mills 11
U Akmal c McCullum b Southee 12
S Afridi c McCullum b Oram 5
K Akmal c Vettori b Southee 4
A Razzaq run out 0
U Gul c Redmond b Oram 6
M Aamer not out 73
S Ajmal c Mills b Oram 33
Extras 13
Total (all out in 49.1 overs) 204
Fall of wickets 1-47 2-51 3-51 4-74 5-82 6-84 7-86 8-86 9-101 10-204

It was a sharp contrast from New Zealand's bright start, with McCullum bringing up his half-century in quick time after 47 balls, aided by six boundaries and three sixes.

Aamer and Umar Gul failed to trouble the opening pair and McCullum was particularly severe on Aamer, pulling him for two sixes over the square leg boundary.

Salman Butt, who continued his recent string of poor efforts in the field, made amends as he ran out Scott Styris at the non-striker's end with a direct hit.

After that, none of the batsmen - including Taylor, Vettori and Oram - could cope with Ajmal and paid the price for playing across the line.

Pakistan also started well with a 47-run stand.

Vettori brought himself on and accounted for Khalid Latif for 19. It was a virtual procession after that with the out-of-form Younis running out Butt for 25 and then was caught behind next over for 3.

The team looked to have given up hope until Aamer and Ajmal started inching closer with some smart batting. Aamer hit Vettori for two sixes over midwicket before hitting the faster bowlers for two fours and two sixes, while Ajmal rotated the strike nicely.

Vettori had five players manning the boundaries in the final overs, and the batsmen responded by taking twos and singles to leave eight runs needed from the final six balls.

However, Ajmal's pull shot off Oram's first ball went up in the air and Kyle Mills covered a lot of ground from deep fine leg to end the chase.

Younis refused to accept total responsibility for the loss.

"If I had to start owing up for the failures then a lot of things will have to be considered,'' he said.

"We panic every time there is a good catch taken or there is a run out. But Aamer and Ajmal surprised us, which is a good sign when youngsters come up with such performances.''

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