Pakistan vs New Zealand 5th ODI: Williamson, Taylor and Henry take down Pakistan in series decider

Williamson's magnificent form with the bat continued

Williamson’s magnificent form with the bat continued

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

New Zealand captain Kane Williamson, batsman Ross Taylor and pace bowler Matt Henry all performed spectacularly to help their side take down Pakistan by 68 runs in the series decider in Abu Dhabi.

Williamson scored 97, Taylor made an unbeaten 88 and Henry took five wickets as New Zealand ended up winning the series 3-2.

However, Pakistan opener Ahmed Shehzad and batsman Haris Sohail both deserve credit for their valiant half-centuries.

Williamson would have been brooding over his decision to bat first after opening batsman Martin Guptill was caught by Asad Shafiq off the bowling of Mohammad Irfan for eight runs.

Williamson and Dean Brownlie made up for the early loss of Guptill with a 66-run partnership before Brownlie was given out lbw off the bowling of Zulfiqar Babar for 34.

Williamson and Taylor kept the runs flowing with a 116-run partnership, during which both batsmen brought up their half-centuries, before Williamson was dismissed just three agonising runs short of his century when he was caught behind off the bowling of Pakistan skipper Shahid Afridi

Williamson’s superb knock of 97 came off 119 balls and included eight boundaries.

Luke Ronchi scored 16 runs before he was caught by Afridi off the bowling of Irfan.

Thanks to Taylor’s unbeaten 88, which came off 95 deliveries and included five boundaries and a six, New Zealand finished on 275/4 off their 50 overs.

Taylor struck five boundaries and a six during his knock of 88

Taylor struck five boundaries and a six during his knock of 88

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Irfan was the pick of the bowlers with two wickets, while Afridi and Babar chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing 276 to win, Pakistan got off to an awful start as it only took Henry five balls to trap Nasir Jamshed lbw for a duck.

However, Jamshed should not have been given out as replays showed that the ball was pitching outside leg stump.

Younis Khan failed to have an impact with the bat as he was caught behind off the bowling of Henry for 12 runs.

Shafiq fared no better as he was given out lbw off the bowling of Anton Devcich for seven runs.

Shafiq decided to review the decision, but replays showed that the ball was pitching in line and clipping leg stump. This led to the third umpire upholding the original decision.

Shehzad and Sohail stabilised the innings with a 69-run partnership, during which Shehzad registered his half-century, before he was caught by Williamson at mid-on off the bowling of Henry.

Shehzad’s excellent knock of 54 came off 81 balls and included two boundaries.

Shehzad made a gutsy 54

Shehzad made a gutsy 54

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Umar Akmal only made six runs before he was caught by Guptill at short midwicket off the bowling of Nathan McCullum.

Sohail and Sarfraz Ahmed steadied the innings with a 55-run partnership, during which Sohail recorded his half-century, before he was clean bowled by Mitchell McClenaghan.

Sohail’s brilliant knock of 65 came off 74 deliveries and included five boundaries and a six.

Sohail's valiant knock of 65 went in vain

Sohail’s valiant knock of 65 went in vain

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Ahmed went on to score 26 runs before he was caught behind off the bowling of Henry.

Anwar Ali mustered 18 runs before he was stumped by Ronchi off the bowling of McCullum.

Afridi accumulated 13 runs before he was caught by Taylor at deep midwicket to give Henry his maiden five-wicket haul.

Pakistan were bowled out for 207 when Babar was clean bowled by Adam Milne for two runs.

Henry was the most successful bowler with five wickets, while McCullum snapped up two and Milne, McClenaghan and Devcich claimed one wicket each.

Henry finished with a career-best 5-30 off nine overs

Henry finished with a career-best 5-30 off nine overs

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Afridi was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “Overall, the cricket in the last 2-3 months they have played is great. We have lost the series but there have been a lot of positives. We knew this was an important game. There were small things that we needed to cover before the World Cup – fielding and partnerships. [Losing the deciding game in a series] This is not an excuse. If you think that you won’t win, you won’t win.

“Overall, everyone played very well. Some of the things, the management knows, what mistakes we made. So we have to improve on them. [Turning points] Bowlers bowled well but we still gave away 15-20 runs more. We lacked partnerships. Ahmed Shehzad’s wicket was crucial and [so was] Haris Sohail’s. He was playing well. Their dismissals put us on the back foot. I was trying to send a message to take the Powerplay. But, we went on the back foot after Shehzad’s wicket. There is no 35 overs in my book. Whenever we need to improve our [scoring], we have to take the Powerplay, but that didn’t happen today.”

Williamson, who was named Man of the Series, was ecstatic to have won 3-2, and said: “It was nice to receive the award, but in a series that went up and down, it was fantastic to learn from the Pakistan side and ultimately to come out to win in such an evenly fought series has been great. It was important to keep adapting our plans, personnel changed quite a lot, had a lot of injuries and it was important to go for the big shots late. We didn’t have Corey today and all.

“It’s outstanding, it was great to see them improve in small steps from the huge total Pakistan racked up in Sharjah. The middle order has shown how powerful they are and to not let them get on top of us has been brilliant. It has been a great series, an emotional series for many reasons and both teams have put together some fantastic cricket.”

Henry was named Man of the Match, and said: “It’s a great way to start to come out here and get a series win in these conditions and against a strong Pakistan side, we’re all stoked. We built on our performances every game, we stuck to our plans and tonight it shows. No real prize scalps, just happy to get em.”

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