Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi falls for 17 as his team tumble to their second biggest World Cup defeat [AFP]

Ross Taylor celebrated his 27th birthday in style with an unbeaten 131 to help New Zealand beat Pakistan by 110 runs at the Cricket World Cup on Tuesday.

Taylor hit seven sixes and eight fours in his 124-ball knock to propel his side to 302-7 after 100 was smashed off the last five overs of their innings at the Pallekele stadium near Kandy.

Tim Southee (3-25) restricted the 1992 champions Pakistan to 192 in their World Cup Group A match leaving the team to suffer their second biggest World Cup defeat.

Scott Styris (2-17), Nathan McCullum (2-28) and Kyle Mills (2-43) also chipped in with useful bowling to halt Pakistan's unbeaten progress in the tournament.

The win gives New Zealand, who have six points from four matches, top billing in the group on a better run-rate.

Pakistan also have six points from four matches, followed by Sri Lanka (five from four) and Australia (five from three).

Lucky break

"I had a bit of luck early on,'' Taylor said.

"Even when I was on 30-40 I still struggled, but I think the way Nathan (McCullum) came in and Jac (Jacob Oram) came in, I just backed myself and had a few cameos in the middle.''

Taylor could have been out for nought. Fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar twice found the edge of Taylor's bat early in his innings but wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal stood still for the first one and then floored a regulation catch.

N zealand/Pakistan scorecard

New Zealand innings
M Guptill b Afridi 57
B McCullum b Akhtar 6
J How lbw b Gul 4
R Taylor not out 131
J Franklin lbw b Hafeez 1
S Styris lbw b Gul 28
N McCullum b Gul 19
J Oram c Gul b Rehman 25
K Mills not out 7
Extras: 24
Total: (seven wickets, 50 overs) 302
Fall of wickets: 1-8 2-55 3-112 4-113 5-175 6-210 7-295

Pakistan innings
M Hafeez lbw b Southee 5
A Shehzad lbw b Mills 10
K Akmal c Taylor b Southee 8
Y Khan b Mills 0
M-ul-Haq c Styris b Southee 7
U Akmal c Oram b N McCullum 38
S Afridi b Oram 17
A Razzaq c Oram b Styris 62
A Rehman lbw b N McCullum 1
U Gul not out 34
S Akhtar c N McCullum b Styris 0
Extras: 10
Total: (all out; 41.4 overs) 192
Fall of wickets: 1-5 2-23 3-23 4-23 5-45 6-66 7-102 8-125 9-191 10-192

Taylor surpassed his previous best of an unbeaten 128 made against India in 2006. After starting slowly, he sped up with Oram (25) in a whirlwind seventh wicket stand of 85 off a mere 22 deliveries.

Akhtar knocked back Brendon McCullum's off stump with a superb fourth delivery that swung back into the right-hander.

Martin Guptill powered to 57 but struggled after Afridi deployed left arm spinner Abdur Rehman with the new ball.

It was the first time in 13 years that Pakistan had opened with a spinner in a one-day international.

Jamie How struggled for 29 balls before Umar Gul had him trapped lbw and Guptill fell to Afridi's full delivery soon after completing his half century.

Firing

Taylor, who completed his half century off 78 balls, needed half that number of balls to complete his fourth one-day international century.

He smashed Akhtar for three sixes, with one going out of the ground at midwicket. New Zealand took 30 runs off Abdul Razzaq's 49th over.

Fast bowler Gul, with 3-32, bowled two incisive spells of swing bowling before Taylor cut loose as New Zealand added a staggering 100 runs in the last five overs.

Pakistan's run chase never achieved any momentum. Southee and Mills combined well to pick up five wickets while Jacob Oram made it 66-6 when Afridi was clean bowled.

Allrounder Abdul Razzaq top scored with 62 off 74 balls, before Scott Styris had him caught in the deep and the medium pacer wrapped up the innings when Nathan McCullum held onto a skier at long on.

"I don't have any excuses but I must say that I know we didn't bowl well, we didn't field well and we missed opportunities," said Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi.

Pakistan next face Zimbabwe here on Monday, while New Zealand travel to Mumbai to face Canada (March 13) and Sri Lanka (March 18) in their last two matches.

Pakistan wrap-up their group matches against defending champions Australia in Colombo on March 19.

Source: Agencies