Pakistan batsmen swayed, heaved, lost wickets, continued to swing their bat, lost some more wickets and finally it all stopped. They were bowled out for 74 – their joint third lowest ODI score to concede the series 0-3 with two matches to go to New Zealand at Dunedin.
Pakistan’s lowest ODI score of 43 came against West Indies in 1993.
Pakistan somehow managed to save their face by getting past the lowest ever ODI score of 35, but only just. They were reduced to 32 for 8, increasing chances of falling short of the mark before captain Sarfraz Ahmed (14*) and Mohammed Amir (14) came to their rescue.
The 22-run last wicket partnership between Sarfraz and Rumman Raees (16) was the highest of their innings – a document of their plight on a sluggish track.
The Pakistan top order were again found wanting in front New Zealand new ball bowlers Trent Boult and Tim Southee.
Boult removed Azar Ali (0), Fakhar Zaman (2) and Mohammad Hafeez (0) in his first two overs to leave Pakistan in dire circumstances at 2 for 3, chasing a target of 258.
The telling blow came when No. 3 Babar Azam lost his wicket through a silly run out. While returning for a second, Azam’s bat was stuck inches before the crease.
Matters complicated when part-timer Collin Munro chipped in with a couple of wickets. On both occasions, the batters attempted expansive shots.
Trent Boult returned to finish things off by picking up the last two wickets and completed a well deserved five-wicket haul.
The target was well beyond Pakistan, especially considering their dismal batting performance in the series but only three of their batsmen crossing the double figure mark was something even Pakistan would not like believe in.
In a bizarre situation, 15 wickets fell wickets in a span of 25 overs after the match dramatically swung from New Zealand to Pakistan and then to New Zealand again on a pitch that chaged dramatically after sprinkle of rains towards the end of the New Zealand innings.
In the end New Zealand won by 183 runs.