AUCKLAND: Pakistan’s Babar Azam made 83 and Mohammad Hafeez 76 in a 134-run third-wicket partnership before the visitors faltered and were bowled out for 290 on Sunday in the third and last one-day cricket game against New Zealand.
Azam and Hafeez came together with Pakistan in trouble at 20-2 after winning the toss, and soon lifted the run-rate to almost seven runs per over.
Pakistan, which needs to win to square the series after the second match was rained out, looked set for a score over 300 but the tail-end batsmen struggled and the touring team was bowled out with 15 balls remaining in the innings.
Thunderstorms are forecast to hit Auckland in the late afternoon, threatening to disrupt if not decide the match and the series.
With the threat of rain in mind, New Zealand likely would have bowled first to take advantage of any Duckworth Lewis calculations later in the day.
Trent Boult and Henry made early breakthroughs for New Zealand on Sunday, dismissing openers Ahmed Shehzad for 12 and captain Azhar Ali for 3 to give the home side the upper hand.
But Azad and Hafeez turned the match with a forceful third-wicket partnership, taking advantage of the short boundaries at Eden Park and capitalizing on some average bowling and sloppy fielding.
Hafeez took a toll on all of New Zealand’s bowlers, rushing to his half century from only 40 balls with five fours and three sixes.
He was particularly harsh on left-arm spinner Mitchell Santner, joining with Azam to plunder 31 from his first two overs and 56 from his five-over spell before becoming Santner’s only victim.
Azam posted his third half-century from his past three games and took over the pacing of the innings when Hafeez was out, putting on a further 61 runs with Shoaib Malik who made 32 from 27 balls.
Henry dismissed Azam for 83 _ made from 77 balls with 10 fours and a six and the innings fell away. Milne produced a high-quality spell of fast bowling later in the innings, dismissing Mohammad Amir and Rahat Ali within three balls, then removing Sarfaz Ahmed (41) to end the innings.
Martin Guptill, who had been in doubt for the match after turning an ankle in training, took four catches variously at short mid-wicket, point and second slip.
Wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi also claimed four victims, including three off Milne.
Brendon McCullum returned to captain New Zealand on Sunday in his first match since aggravating a back injury on Dec. 28.
Courtesy : Dawn News