New Zealand made an emphatic statement of form Tuesday in their last official one day international before the Cricket World Cup, compiling 369-5 on their way to a crushing 119-run win over Pakistan to complete a 2-0 sweep of their two-match series.
Kane Williamson made 112 from 88 balls and Ross Taylor an unbeaten 102 from 70 deliveries after New Zealand won the toss and took full advantage of a pristine batting pitch at McLean Park – a World Cup venue.
Pakistan crumbled in the face of the express pace of Adam Milne, who took 2-52, the less threatening medium slow offerings of Grant Elliott who took 2-35 and the part-time spin of Nathan McCullum (2-33).
New Zealand won the first ODI on Saturday by seven wickets and their win follows a 4-2 series victory over Sri Lanka, their first World Cup opponent.
Captain Brendon McCullum said that while New Zealand took confidence from their win Tuesday, they remained respectful of any team they would face during the World Cup.
“We have to be happy with where we’re at,” he said. “We’ve played two of what you’d probably call the perfect games and the challenge now is to keep the momentum we’ve built up over the last little while.”
Pakistan were never on track to chase down New Zealand’s imposing total, which was their fifth-highest ODI total and their highest against Pakistan.
Mohammad Hafeez made 86 from 89 balls and Ahmed Shahzad made 55 from 62 in a 111-run opening stand. But even by their end, when Shahzad became the first of Nathan McCullum’s victims and the first of two batsmen caught in the same position on the boundary by Milne, Pakistan’s asking rate was already imposing.
Trent Boult was restrictive with the new ball and spinner Daniel Vettori, introduced as first change, bowled his 10 overs for 41 runs.
When Pakistan were forced to hit out, Hafeez and Shahzad perished to catches on the mid-wicket boundary taken by Milne.
After the openers were dismissed, the next-best effort came from captain Misbah-ul-Haq who made 45.
“We need to improve a lot in every area, especially we need to improve our batting and also our bowling,” Misbah said. “We gave away 370 runs and while New Zealand played well we need to improve our bowling.”
New Zealand’s batting performance was outstanding. Williamson posted his sixth ODI century as he carries rich form toward the World Cup.
Taylor blasted his way into form with his 12th century. After entering the final over 12 runs short of his 100, he hit four from the first ball from Bilawal Bhatti then played and missed at three deliveries before he hit six and four from the last two balls of the innings to finish 102 not out.
Another part of New Zealand’s World Cup preparation clicked into place when Martin Guptill made 76 in a timely return to form.
Follow us at our new home on Twitter @NatSportUAE