Taylor's birthday bash floors Pak
The Kiwis hand Pakistan their first loss in World Cup.
Pallekele, Kandy: Chasing a target of 303, when the top-four Pakistan batsmen had perished to the Kiwi new-ball pair of Tim Southee and Kyle Mills in the first eight overs, the rest of the innings was always going to be a formality.
But the writing was already on the wall once New Zealand, led by Ross Taylor's late onslaught, scored a staggering 92 runs off the last four overs to snatch the match away from Pakistan.
But Pakistan did not exactly lose the game then. They lost it in the 14th over when Kamran Akmal displayed his prowess of consistently giving 'lives' to opposition players, especially premier batsmen.
With Umar Gul having removed Jamie How in the 13th over, Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi threw the ball to Akhtar - who had disturbed Brendon McCullum's woodwork - to trouble an out-of-form Taylor.
But for Akmal's awful work behind the stumps, the ploy would have worked and Pakistan would surely not have faced the misery of chasing more than a run a ball. But it wasn't to be.
The second ball that he faced from Akhtar, Taylor edged. Instead of diving to his right, Akmal stood a mute spectator Two balls later, Akhtar forced another edge, but Akmal spilled this one too.
From then on, every time Taylor scored a boundary, Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi threw a glance at Akmal, who looked terribly embarrassed.
Taylor's late onslaught in the last four overs - in which the Kiwis scored a whopping 92 runs with Taylor smashing 55 off 13 deliveries - sealed the fate of the match.Unfortunately for Akhtar, he got Taylor going who tonked the fast bowler for three sixes and two boundaries in the 47th over.
For the next three overs the fans on the grass banks started getting catching practice.