Guptill guides New Zealand to easy win over Pakistan

Nelson (New Zealand), Jan 9 (IANS) Riding on Martin Guptill’s brisk half-century, New Zealand gained a 2-0 lead in their five-match ODI series against Pakistan notching a comfortable eight-wicket win on the DLS Method in a rain-interrupted second encounter here on Tuesday.

In the rain-affected match, New Zealand were set a revised target of 151 in 25 overs after Pakistan posted 246/9 in 50 overs — thanks to half-centuries from Mohammad Hafeez (60 off 71), Shadab Khan (52 off 68) and Hasan Ali (51 off 31).

However, there was a two-hour delay caused by rain after 14 overs, when New Zealand were 64/2. The chase was a tricky one, with the home side needing 87 runs in 11 overs.

Guptill shifted gears after play resumed, ending unbeaten on a 71-ball 86, to help New Zealand past the target with seven balls remaining.

Guptill was batting on 31 off 40 balls when rain intervened, but on resumption, he accumulated 56 runs off just 32 balls, ending with five sixes and as many fours.

New Zealand didn’t get off to the best of starts though, as Colin Munro, the in-form big-hitter, was caught early dismissed by Mohammed Amir.

Skipper Kane Williamson didn’t last long either, sent back for 19, as the home side managed just 47/2 by the 10th over.

However, Guptill and Ross Taylor turned things around, the senior statesmen combining for an unbroken 104-run stand to take New Zealand past their target.

They were particularly belligerent after the rain-break — Guptill picked Hasan Ali for consecutive sixes in the 16th over. He followed that up with another six and a four in the next over off Shadab Khan.

Taylor joined in at the other end, picking runs off Rumman Raees in the next over, and with the frequency of boundaries as high as it was, the match soon slipped away from Pakistan.

Earlier, Pakistan recovered well from a precarious 39/3 by the 11th over to 246/9 at the end of their stipulated 50 overs.

Hafeez and Shoaib Malik added a 45-run partnership to steady the innings, but they were in trouble once again when the stand was broken.

Malik succumbed to dot-ball pressure and holed out off Astle for a 46-ball 27, prompting a mini-slide — Sarfraz Ahmed (3), Hafeez and Faheem Ashraf (7) all followed suit in quick succession, as Pakistan fell to 141/7.

However, Shadab and Hasan Ali then added a 70-run stand to once again steady the innings, taking them closer to the 250-mark, with the latter scoring his maiden half-century in the format.

Southee returned in the death-breakthrough with the wicket of Hasan Ali, while Lockie Ferguson had Shadab sent back in the final over to end with figures of 3/39.

The home side had earlier won the opening ODI in Wellington by 61 runs and will now face the Pakistanis on Saturday at Dunedin.



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