x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Pakistan lose thriller in Abu Dhabi

New Zealand claim the one-day series with a seven-run victory in a nail-biting finale despite a valiant last wicket partnership.

ABU DHABI // Daniel Vettori, the captain of coach-less New Zealand, choreographed a rare away-series win for his side over Pakistan, as they claimed the Cool & Cool Cup with a victory by just seven runs at the Zayed Cricket Stadium last night, despite a remarkable last-wicket stand between Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Aamer, the 17-year-old left-hander, who scored an unbeaten 73 in their 103-run partnership.

The New Zealanders left behind a doubting public when they flew to the UAE last week, following the departure of their coach, Andy Moles, which was reportedly brought about by player power. Vettori had to shoulder much of the resulting additional burden, as well as his captaincy, selectorial, batting and bowling duties, but has thrived with the responsibility. It was his astute decision-making in the field that allowed the Black Caps to defend what could have been a fragile total of 211, based on a fine 76 by Brendon McCullum, with ease.

Pakistan should really have cruised to their victory target but foundered after suffering the type of spectacular implosion in which they specialise. Their demise can be traced to two consecutive deliveries which totally sapped the life from the chase. First, Younus Khan, the captain, inexplicably pursued a sharp single that was never on, and his partner, Salman Butt, was run out by a distance. The charismatic leader, who is often said to have the toughest job in cricket, would no doubt have been feeling distraught at his error. The only way he could make amends was to bat through the innings and take his side to victory. Yet before he could even begin to plot his rescue mission he, too, was on his way back to the dressing room after being caught at the wicket off Shane Bond. pradley@thenational.ae

New Zealand: Brendon McCullum c & b Shoaib Malik 76 Aaron Redmond c Mohammad Aamer b Umar Gul 21 Martin Guptill c Younus Khan b Saeed Ajmal 8 Ross Taylor lbw Saeed Ajmal 44 Scott Styris run out (Salman Butt) 14 Daniel Vettori lbw Saeed Ajmal 15 Neil Broom lbw Shahid Afridi 0 Jacob Oram lbw Saeed Ajmal 2 Kyle Mills c Saeed Ajmal b Mohammad Aamer 4 Shane Bond not out 11 Tim Southee c Abdul Razzaq b Mohammad Aamer 4 Extras: (lb6, w6) 12 Total (all out) 211 Overs: 46.3 Fall of wickets: 1-72, 2-88, 3-138, 4-164, 5-187, 6-188, 7-190, 8-194, 9-198, 10-211 Bowling: Mohammad Aamer 8.3-0-41-2, Umar Gul 8-1-47-1 (2w), Abdul Razzaq 3-0-19-0, Saeed Ajmal 10-0-33-4 (1w), Shahid Afridi 10-0-33-1 (3w), Shoaib Malik 7-0-32-1 (1w) Pakistan: Salman Butt run out (Martin Guptill) 25 Khalid Latif lbw Daniel Vettori 19 Younis Khan c Ross Taylor b Shane Bond 3 Shoaib Malik c Scott Styris b Kyle Mills 11 Umar Akmal c Brendon McCullum b Tim Southee 12 Shahid Afridi c Brendon McCullum b Jacob Oram 5 Kamran Akmal c Daniel Vettori b Tim Southee 4 Abdul Razzaq run out (Daniel Vettori) 0 Umar Gul c Aaron Redmond b Umar Gul 6 Mohammad Aamer not out 73 Saeed Ajmal c Kyle Mills b Oram 33 Extras: (4b, 4lb, 1nb, 4w) 13 TOTAL: (all out) 204 Overs: 49.1 Fall of wicket: 1-47, 2-51, 3-51, 4-74, 5-83, 6-86, 7-86, 8-86, 9-101, 10-204 Bowling: Kyle Mills 10-1-62-1 (1w), Shane Bond 10-1-46-1 (2w), Daniel Vettori 10-2-42-1, Tim Southee 10-1-26-2, Jacob Oram 9.1-2-20-3 (1w, 1 nb)