Sensational batting by birthday boy Ross Taylor and Jacob Oram, coupled with disciplined bowling, saw
New Zealand crush Pakistan by 110 runs and roar back into the World Cup here Tuesday.
Taylor (131 off 124 balls) and Oram (25 off nine balls) mauled Pakistan in the last 10 overs which cost them 139 runs as New Zealand raced to 302/7 in 50 overs at the picturesque Pallekele International Cricket Stadium, which was staging its first match.
Pakistan, who has had a good tournament so far, were never in the hunt and lost wickets as they went for shots. They were reeling at 6/66 before Umar Akmal (38) Abdul Razzaq (62) and Umar Gul (34 not out) tried to make a match of it, but it was too late.
Kyle Mills (2-43), Tim Southee (3-25), Nathan McCullum (2-28) and Scot Styris (2-17) all chipped in with wickets.
New Zealand, who had slumped to a huge defeat against Australia, made a big statement. The victory took them to the top of the table with six points.
Pakistan, who were riding high after beating Sri Lanka, are in second place, also on six points.
Pakistan were going strong even on this day before Taylor and Oram changed the course of the match in the death overs.
New Zealand were 180/5 in 43 overs. At that time, even a score of 240 seemed fine for the Kiwis. The last four overs went for a staggering 92 runs.
It was breathtaking batting. Taylor brought the stands of the stadium down, smashing seven sixes and eight fours. Not to be left behind, Oram joined the party with three powerful strikes clearing the boundary.
New Zealand took the powerplay in the 42nd over. After playing watchfully the first few overs, they let themselves loose in Shahid Afridi’s last over (45th).
Afridi, the tournament’s most successful bowler, went for two sixes. The first one was struck by McCullum (19) and the second by Taylor.
McCullum smacked another off Umar Gul (3-32) before falling to the next ball.
Shaoib Akhtar was then taken to the cleaners by Taylor. The pacer was hit for 28 runs — 4, 6, 6 (1w), 0, 4, (1w), 6.
Abdul Razaq went for 30 and left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman’s last two overs cost 34.
Taylor was let off the hook twice on nought by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal.
Pakistan also paid the price for finishing Afridi and Gul’s quotas of 10 overs as Akhtar (1-70 in nine overs) and Razzaq (0-49 in 4 overs) bowled poorly in the death overs.
Taylor, who turned 27 Tuesday, appeared shaky when he came to the crease. But he was completely unstoppable in the final overs as he continuously hit the ball out of the park.
Apart from Gul and Afridi, neither of Pakistan’s bowlers could really threaten New Zealand, which lost to Australia by seven wickets before bouncing back to record a 10-wicket win over minnows Zimbabwe.
New Zealand, after electing to bat, lost Brendon McCullum early before Martin Guptill (57) and Taylor consolidated the innings with a 57-run stand.