WELLINGTON // Jesse Ryder hit six sixes in an innings of 107 and Hamish Bennett took four for 46 to spur New Zealand to a 57-run win in the sixth one-day international today.
Pakistan won the series 3-2 – the second match was washed out – but New Zealand gained valuable confidence ahead of this month's World Cup with only it's second win in its past 16 completed one-dayers.
New Zealand made 311 for seven batting first, helped by Ryder's second century in one-day internationals and a blazing 120-run stand between half century-makers Scott Styris and Nathan McCullum.
Pakistan lost early wickets in its run chase and was all out for 254 in 44.1 overs with Kamran Akmal top-scoring with 89.
Ryder, batting at No 3 after Brendon McCullum was promoted to open, reached his century from 82 balls, holding together the New Zealand innings after Pakistan had won the toss and bowled. New Zealand's innings briefly flagged after Ryder was out in the 36th over, producing only 50 runs in the next 10 overs.
"It was good to get a few out of the middle of the bat today," Ryder said. "I was dropped down to three (in the batting order) but it was a good position to get runs and it turned out to be a good day for me."
Styris and McCullum regained the lost momentum in an outstanding partnership for the sixth wicket which ended when McCullum was out to the second-to-last ball of the innings.
McCullum made 65 from 50 balls with seven fours and three sixes and Styris was left 58 not out from 44 balls after running out Kyle Mills from the final ball.
New Zealand was 240-5 when the powerplay began, looking unlikely to reach 300, but McCullum and Styris transformed the innings, battering 11 runs from the first powerplay over, 13 from the second, 19 from the third and 14 from the fourth and fifth.
Shahid Afridi, who was confirmed on Friday as Pakistan's World Cup captain - winning that role ahead of test captain Misbah ul-Haq who was omitted from Saturday's lineup - employed unusual bowling and fielding combinations during the powerplay.
Abdul Razzaq, who took 2-23 as his most economical bowler, was not used, nor was veteran Shoaib Akhtar. Instead, Afridi used left-armer Sohail Tanvir who had been heavily punished by the New Zealanders earlier in the innings and who conceded 78 runs from his eight overs.
Afridi called on off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez to bowl the last over of the innings, maintaining a strange field with five fielders inside the circle on the off-side and only one on the leg side, behind square.
The placement meant McCullum and Styris were able to take full advantage, as Ryder had done, of the short boundaries at Eden Park.
Pakistan was always on the back foot in its run chase, slumping to 58 for three.
Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal took his 89 runs from 84 balls but wasn't able to keep up with the tempo of the chase and was out in the 33rd over when Pakistan was 180 for six.
Afridi blasted 44 from 35 balls and Tanvir 30 from 32 but Pakistan was hurried out by Bennett, who took four wickets, and James Franklin who took three.
Martin Guptill c Gul b Razzaq 44
Brendon McCullum c Kamran Akmal b Tanvir 12
Jesse Ryder c Sohail b Hafeez 107
Ross Taylor c Kamran Akmal b Razzaq 5
James Franklin c Kamran Akmal b Akhtar 8
Scott Styris not out 58
Nathan McCullum c Shehzad b Hafeez 65
Kyle Mills run out 0
Extras (3lb,8w,1nb) 12
TOTAL: (for seven wickets, 50 overs) 311
Fall of wickets: 1-18, 2-144, 3-153, 4-174, 5-190, 6-310, 7-311.
Bowling: Shoaib Akhtar 7-1-38-1 (1w), Sohail Tanvir 8-0-78-1 (5w), Umar Gul 9-0-61-0 (1w,1nb), Mohammad Hafeez 9-0-57-2, Shahid Afridi 10-0-51-0 (1w), Abdul Razzaq 7-0-23-2.
Mohammad Hafeez c Franklin b Bennett 21
Ahmed Shehzad c sub (How) b Mills 6
Kamran Akmal c Taylor b Franklin 89
Younis Khan c Brendon McCullum b Bennett 16
Asad Shafiq run out 26
Umar Akmal c Brendon McCullum b Franklin 8
Shahid Afridi c Nathan McCullum b Bennett 44
Abdul Razzaq c Taylor b Franklin 1
Sohail Tanvir run out 30
Umar Gul c sub (How) b Bennett 1
Shoaib Akhtar not out 2
Extras (3lb,6w,1nb) 10
TOTAL (all out, 44.1 overs) 254
Fall of wickets: 1-4, 2-31, 3-58, 4-132, 5-150, 6-180, 7-183, 8-241, 9-251, 10-254.
Bowling: Kyle Mills 8-1-30-1, Tim Southee 8-0-47-0 (1w), Hamish Bennett 8.1-0-46-4 (3w,1nb), Luke Woodcock 3-0-27-0, Nathan McCullum 4-0-24-0, Scott Styris 5-0-27-0 (1w), James Franklin 8-0-50-3 (1w).