Kiwis snatch four-run thriller over Pak
New Zealand survived a batting blitzkrieg by Abdul Razzaq to snatch a dramatic four-run win with three balls to spare over Pakistan on Saturday in a champagne spectacle of cricket which produced more than 600 runs.
After New Zealand posted their highest one-day score yet against Pakistan of 307 for eight, Pakistan were all out in return for 303 in the final over of the match and the series, won by New Zealand 4-1.
Razzaq's batting spectacular, in which he scored 89 from 40 balls, was not enough to win the match, but it deservedly won him the man-of-the-match award.
He was closing on one of the fastest ever one-day centuries when he finally misjudged a shot and skied New Zealand's most expensive bowler, Andre Adams, to the safest fielder on the park, Hamish Marshall, to end an innings that included nine fours and five sixes.
His first 50 came off 23 balls, including 24 runs off one Adams over, and goes in the record books as the 12th fastest of all time.
Pakistan's run chase was a rollercoaster ride, starting ahead of the required run rate of just over five an over, then falling well back to needing nearly 12 an over after losing three top order batsmen in the space of 20 runs.
Inzamam-ul-Haq and Moin Khan steadied the chase with a 98 run partnership but when Khan went for 52 and Razzaq came to the wicket, Pakistan were 171-5, still requiring 137 runs from 13 overs.
When Razzaq went at the start of the 49th over, Pakistan needed just 14 from 11 balls.
At one stage it appeared as if Razzaq and Shoaib Akhtar would steer Pakistan home until Akhtar inexplicably dawdled through a second run without watching the effervescent Marshall retrieve the ball in the deep and was run out.
Just as Razzaq starred for Pakistan, Marshall was the hero for New Zealand as he figured in two run outs, caught Razzaq, and top scored for New Zealand with 84.
For Marshall, New Zealand's find of the summer, it lifted his career average to 52.1 from 10 matches.
He also partnered Craig McMillan (81) in a New Zealand record fourth-wicket partnership of 157 off 158 balls.
New Zealand were always on track for a big total after winning the toss and batting first on a surprisingly good stadium pitch.
After losing Stephen Fleming, Craig Cumming and Scott Styris inside the first 16 overs to be 73 for three, Marshall and McMillan seized control and took the score to 230 for four in the 40th over when McMillan was dismissed.
In the final slog, Chris Cairns smashed 36 off 20 balls while Jacob Oram hit two sixes off Mohammad Sami in the last over to be unbeaten on 18 from just nine balls.
Oram also enjoyed a successful day with the ball, finishing with two for 28 from 10 overs on a day when bowlers were hit to all points of the ground. Kyle Mills took two for 65 and Adams one for 69
Pakistan speedster Akhtar also produced respectable figures of two for 46 off 10 overs.
Mohammad Sami, on the other hand went for 73 in taking two wickets from 10 overs, while Shabbir Ahmed had no success as he went for 63 using his full complement of overs.