WATCH – De Grandhomme’s brutal fifty
New Zealand 263 for 5 (De Grandhomme 74*, Munro 56, Nicholls 52*, Shadab 3-42) beat Pakistan 262 for 8 (Hafeez 81*, Zaman 54, Sarfraz 51, Sohail 50) by five wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
It was a contest between the sophistication of Pakistan’s bowling attack and the raw power of two New Zealand batsmen named Colin. But as with all other games on this tour, it was the home side who emerged victorious, chasing down 263 with five wickets and four overs to spare.
Colin Munro wreaked havoc at the top of the order, while Colin de Grandhomme outdid him towards the end, bludgeoning Pakistan into submission with 74 of 40 balls, just when it looked like they may finally get off the mark this series. Pakistan may take heart from the fact that this was, by some distance, the most competitive game thus far. Equally, however, they will be disappointed not to emerge with a win, having reduced New Zealand to 154 for 5, with just the lower order to bowl at.
New Zealand began the chase in typically brash fashion. Munro attacked the opening bowlers, particularly Hasan Ali, the decision to open the bowling with him backfiring. He was often a touch too short and Munro was excellent punching off the back foot. An example of his front foot play was the six he struck off Mohammad Amir; the ball disappeared over cover.
Colin de Grandhomme sent the ball to all parts © Getty Images
After leaking 86 runs in 13 overs, Pakistan finally turned to Shadab Khan and things started happening. He deceived Munro in the flight in his first over, and the left-hander was caught at deep midwicket. A googly took care of Martin Guptill, and for the first time, Zealand began to look a little unsure. Rumman Raees exploited that superbly when he trapped Ross Taylor, playing his 200th ODI today, lbw for 1. Tom Latham was caught at slip off Shadab, a victim of extra bounce, and New Zealand were reeling from the loss of four wickets for 11 runs.
The only one thinking clearly in the mayhem was the unflappable Williamson, who set about restoring the innings with Henry Nicholls. The pair bided their time, rotating the strike when they could, and quietly built up a 55-run partnership.
But Haris Sohail struck just as New Zealand crossed 150, snaring Williamson in the most unexpected fashion. Having looked comfortable all innings, a sudden rush of blood prompted him to launch the left-arm spinner into the air. It was agonisingly close to being a six, but Raees positioned himself inches from the boundary, leaned back with both hands over his head and took one of the coolest catches. At the time, it looked the decisive moment.
But out came de Grandhomme, playing his first match since returning from Zimbabwe following the death of his father. Any notions of rust were brushed aside as they took the sledgehammer to a Pakistan attack that had looked impregnable for the previous hour. Haris was the first to feel the allrounder’s might, consecutive sixes setting the stage for the astonishing assault that was incoming.
De Grandhomme lifted Amir majestically over midwicket to clear the rope, then Shadab was dispatched over extra cover with an even classier shot. This was no feat of pinch-hitting, it was an extraordinary display of power combined with technique that belied his batting position, reputation and match fitness as he took New Zealand towards their target in delightfully uncomplicated fashion.
Pakistan were shellshocked; there simply wasn’t a response coming from them. The errors in the field mounted and the shoulders began to sag. Henry Nicholls brought up an understated but fully-deserved half-century to level the scores, and just like that, Pakistan found themselves 4-0 down.
Shadab Khan led Pakistan’s fightback with a flurry of wickets © Getty Images
They might now think back to those familiar problems at the top, which showed no signs of abating on Tuesday. It took fifties from Fakhar Zaman and Haris Sohail, and a late onslaught to spare their blushes. From 130 for 5, a 98-run partnership between Mohammad Hafeez and captain Sarfraz Ahmed prevented their innings from falling apart in the middle overs as they finished with 262. New Zealand put in a disciplined bowling performance and the pick of their bowlers was, surprisingly, Williamson himself, taking two wickets in his 10 overs.
The allrounder Faheem Ashraf, who was sent in to open the batting, fell in the third over, and Babar Azam followed suit. That, though, was when Pakistan’s resistance began. Haris – who looked so good one wondered why he wasn’t playing the previous three ODIs – and Zaman took the attack to the bowlers. They rode their luck somewhat; Fakhar was dropped early and a top edge carried for six, but the pair applied themselves well, bringing up the fifty partnership in 47 balls.
Santner broke through with a carrom ball Zaman failed to read, and with that partnership ending, normal service seemed to resume. Haris had played beautifully to reach a half-century in his first ODI in three years, but threw it away next ball, driving Williamson straight into deep extra cover’s hands.
At 130 for 5, it looked bleak for Pakistan again, but for the second time in the innings, the batsmen dug in. Sarfraz and Hafeez went about rebuilding the innings once more, pacing their fightback quite well, but the pitch began to slow down towards the end, making it difficult to hit the ball cleanly.
New Zealand used seven bowlers during their innings, which meant they had plenty of overs left from their frontline seamers. Trent Boult wasn’t quite on the money, and Pakistan cashed in on that, Hafeez picking him up beautifully and, on four occasions, sending him into the stands. Pakistan scored 62 runs in the last five overs – and 22 off Boult’s final over – as Hafeez finished with a vital 81 off 80 balls.
It might have been the decisive knock of the game, had de Grandhomme not had other ideas.
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.