Pathetic Pakistan: Black Caps 3-0

Martin Guptill, Trent Boult and Tom Latham of New Zealand celebrate the dismissal of Fakhar Zaman...
Martin Guptill, Trent Boult and Tom Latham of New Zealand celebrate the dismissal of Fakhar Zaman of Pakistan during the third game of the One Day International Series between New Zealand and Pakistan at University of Otago Oval. Photo: Getty
Pakistan produced a batting collapse of inexplicable incompetence to spiral the third one-day international against New Zealand at University Oval into a farce.

It would take ineptitude of a Keystone Cops magnitude to plummet to depths lower than what the West Indies achieved this summer, but this next wave of tourists challenged the mantle.

They were dismissed for 74, conceding the game to New Zealand by 183 runs and the series 3-0.

Trent Boult starred, taking five for 17 from 7.2 overs, reinforced by three first slip catches from Ross Taylor.

He started the rout by removing Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez within the first four overs, while Tim Southee toiled just as hard for nowt into the Dunedin north-easterly and odd spit of rain.

Pakistan were two for three.

To up the gears on the disbelief, Babar Azam was run out 11 runs later, losing his bat in a rut on one of the adjacent pitches.

Lockie Ferguson and Colin Munro assumed Boult's brief, scything through Shoaib Malik and Shadab Khan to leave the visitors 16 for six from 15 overs. Just to reiterate, none of those numbers are typos.

Cometh the hour, cometh the men.

Captain Sarfraz Ahmed and Faheem Ashraf piled on 14 runs for the seventh wicket to get them within touching distance of 35, the lowest total in ODIs made by Zimbabwe against Sri Lanka in Harare in 2004.

With Faheem falling to Ferguson, and Hasan Ali exiting to a one-handed Kane Williamson effort at mid-wicket off Munro, Pakistan risked getting dismissed for their lowest ODI total - 43 versus the West Indies at Cape Town in 1993. Eventually that was avoided when Sarfraz and Mohammad Amir blasted 20 for the ninth wicket, just as witnesses were cueing up the circus theme music on their playlists.

One record Pakistan claimed was their lowest score against New Zealand, surpassing the 116 at Dambulla in 2003.

The victory was New Zealand's 10th in succession across all formats. That equals the longest winning sequence in their history.

The first streak of 10 spanned from the final ODI defeat of Pakistan in January 2015 until the World Cup semi-final victory over South Africa; the second was across all formats from the 2016 Boxing Day ODI win over Bangladesh until they secured the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy against Australia last February.

Earlier, those watching New Zealand's 257 could be forgiven for questioning whether they had been transported back to 1980s-style ODI cricket.

Bat and ball fought an even duel and, after two sixes within the first eight balls, no more featured throughout the innings.

It was as if Marty McFly and Doc Brown had jumped into their DeLorean and headed back in time.

Pakistan took the early initiative, restricting New Zealand to 37 for one after 10 overs.
Three consecutive half-century partnerships between Martin Guptill and Williamson (69 runs off 111 balls), Williamson and Taylor (74 runs off 79 balls) and Taylor and Tom Latham (51 runs off 55 balls) brought the hosts back into the contest.

However, at 209 for three in the 43rd over, the visitors responded through the death bowling of Hasan (three for 59) and Rumman Raees (three for 51) to restrict New Zealand to 48 more runs. Boult offered late impetus with 13 off nine balls before Hasan bowled him with the innings' final ball.

Williamson grafted 73 off 101 balls, gradually building his strike rate as he adapted to the bounce and carry. He made two off 12, five off 22, 14 off 39 and 34 off 71 before accelerating to help build the ideal platform for the remainder of the order.

Taylor anchored the middle order with his 40th ODI half-century after coming the wicket at 84 for two in the 21st over. The right-hander showed immediate intent in his 52 from 64 balls.

He pushed the scoring at a run-a-ball early and then consolidated as they moved with surety into the death phase. If Taylor ever indulges in rock-paper-scissors, presumably he always picks the latter option. He would cut anything.

Rumman and Hasan delivered well at the death, but Shadab Khan was the outstanding Pakistani bowler. He came on in the 15th over and was prepared to toss the ball up to tempt the New Zealanders.

He finished with two for 51. At 19-years-old he already delivers well-disguised variations. He removed Taylor with a flipper. That was followed by a wrong 'un which Henry Nicholls spooned back. Shadab took a one-handed caught-and-bowled diving around non-striker Latham.

That catch was only superseded by Dunedin builder Craig Dougherty who, standing beyond the boundary rope on the fifth ball of the innings, took an uncontested one-handed effort to earn $50,000 courtesy of Guptill and Amir's largesse.

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