January 10, 2018
WELLINGTON: New Zealand took a 2-0 lead in their one-day international series against Pakistan after an eight-wicket win in a rain-affected clash in Nelson. Martin Guptill (87 not out off 72 balls) and Ross Taylor (unbeaten 44) guided the New Zealand cricket team to their revised target of 151 at Saxton Oval, where rain had earlier stopped play for more than two hours. The hosts resumed needing 87 off 11 overs and they made relatively quick work of the chase, reaching 151-2 with seven balls to spare. New Zealand had been reduced to 64-2 chasing 247 when play was initially stopped and the Duckworth-Lewis method needed. The Pakistan cricket team, beaten in the series opener which was also impacted by rain, had earlier elected to bat and reached 246-9 thanks to some lower-order hitting. Mohammad Hafeez (60) was the only top-order batsman to deliver, leaving the tourists needing runs from Shadab Khan (52) and Hasan Ali (51). But while they got Colin Munro (0) early and Shadab took a great catch to remove Kane Williamson (19), Pakistan had no answers after the break as Guptill quickly took the game – and potentially the five-match series – away from them. Earlier, the tourists’ top-order collapsed for the second time in as many games. Pakistan were 39-3 on a good batting wicket as Imam-ul-Haq (2), Azhar Ali (6) and Babar Azam (10) fell cheaply. They had a decent chance of setting a good total with Hafeez at the crease as the right-hander led the Pakistan innings. However, Hafeez picked out Guptill at extra cover off Mitchell Santner (1-34) to leave his team at 127-6. The biggest partnership of Pakistan’s innings was for the eighth wicket as Shadab and Hasan put on 70. Hasan was aggressive from the outset, making 51 off 31 with four fours and as many sixes on his way to a first international half-century. The duo’s hitting appeared to propel Pakistan to a defendable total, but the Black Caps made a decent enough start in response and had no issues after the rain delay.