About the Match
It was a scintillating win for New Zealand against Pakistan by a narrow margin of 7 runs in the fourth ODI to level the series 2-2; the 5th and final match will be played at Abu Dhabi on 19th Dec, which will decide the winner. The Kiwis came back stronger with a commendable performance by the bowlers to restrict Pakistani batsmen and take the team safely home; both sides will definitely come out all guns blazing on Friday and we expect a fierce contest till the end.
With 299 runs to defend, the bowlers gave a tough fight to restrict Pakistan to 292 and steer the team to victory in a close finish; Vettori’s magnificent 3-53 demolished the opponent’s batting line-up while Adam Milne, McClenaghan, Anderson and Henry picked up quick wickets to stall the Pakistani batsmen. However, it was Kane Williamson’s brilliant 123 off 105 deliveries that ensured that the bowler had sufficient to defend for; Guptill and Brownlie’s 81-run opening stand built the foundation but it was the captain’s knock that steered the innings to a well-made 299 runs. Earlier matches also witnessed a good performance by Williamson, Devcich, Guptill, Taylor, Brownlie and Latham; the batting line-up is strong and with more confidence now, they can surely be a tough challenge for the Pakistani spinners. On the bowling front, Vettori’s experience and perseverance has been helping the team put up a stiff opposition while Milne, Henry and others have been in good-form with their wicket-taking abilities. With a positive attitude and an all-round performance by the team, they are surely looking good to take the title.
Younis Khan finally stepped up to give a solid performance; however his brilliant 103 off 117 wasn’t enough to take the team safely home facing a target of 300 runs; while Ahmed Shehzad got out for a duck in the very first over, Mohammad Hafeez failed to live up to the expectations of the team in the middle order after getting out on 3. Haris Sohail, who had astonished his seniors with repeated brilliance until now, also succumbed to pressure and it was left to Umar Akmal, Afridi and Sarfraz Ahmed to complete the job; however, Afridi missed his half century by 1 run towards the end and the lone man fighting, Younis couldn’t close it with the winning runs. The bowlers continued with their excellent job as they restricted the Kiwis to 299 runs; but perhaps the target was just too much on the particular day. They have the talent and mind set to come back stronger; it needs to be seen if Afridi, who has stepped into Misbah’s shoes, can motivate his players and clinch the series with a better performance on Friday.
It has been a perfect roller-coaster ride for both the teams here with each of them winning two games; the team that can keep a cool head above its shoulders and perform when its required the most, will definitely have the advantage. Though the match will surely go down to the wire, we feel that New Zealand with its new-found success has the psychological advantage and the will power to excel yet again and emerge victorious.
New Zealand, 2.37 @ Bet365