That was certainly something different, and positive, but most of the rest of the day followed the pattern of this ODI series; albeit with the closest finish of the series.
Take Munro for example. He scored 34 off 24 in an innings which was a mixture of power and streakiness. There are those who think he needs to convert these starts into big totals, but with the reliability of the rest of the top order around him you could argue this was a very valuable knock.
It also allows those players to take their time in getting in. But just when it looked that there was no way the Williamson – Guptill partnership could be broken before they went for the Happy Hour acceleration Kane Williamson decided to launch Happy Hour in the first over after drinks, spooning to the man on the leg side boundary.
Taylor and Guptill then did what now seems to be the inevitable. Slow and consolidating at first before both hitting the accelerator after the 30 over mark. When Guptill was dismissed the ball after he reached his century New Zealand was 213/3 with 9 overs left and a score of over 300 looked very likely.
But, as in Dunedin, wheels kept coming off all over the place. It almost seemed a relief to people that a weakness in the side has been spotted, and it had been proven twice in a week.
Colin de Grandhomme didn’t find things quite as easy as he did in Hamilton; largely because the Pakistan bowlers got it right.
In fact they got the death overs very right. There were only three boundaries in the last 10 overs.
With all the wickets falling at the other end de Grandhomme just couldn’t play in the style he’d have wanted to, and didn’t see a lot of the ball. He faced 21 of a possible 52 balls.
At the innings break the tourists high-fived each other; they knew they’d trimmed over 30 runs off the total.
But then the routine and pattern took over again. It doesn’t really seem to matter who opens the bowling they take wickets. Boult in Dunedin, Southee and Hamilton; today it was Henry’s turn. It’s very hard to win an ODI when you’re 57/5.
Average score at the fall of the 2nd wicket this series:
— Michael Wagener (@Mykuhl) January 19, 2018
But then Pakistan proved again that their best batting is in the middle order. The Haris / Shadab partnership turned it around and gradually the crowd began to get edgy.
But they had too much to do; despite a century partnership, Pakistan was still 110 runs shy when the sixth wicket fell, and the asking rate was over 8.
It was spirited stuff from Pakistan, as New Zealand really struggled to hammer that last nail into the coffin. Hesson & co won’t be happy with the number of wides bowled, but there was just too much to do. The final margin was 15 runs.
If the pattern of New Zealand taking clumps of wickets with the new ball continues then the chances of them continuing to win remains high.
Most scores of 50 of more for New Zealand in ODIs: R Taylor 58 passing N Astle 57, S Fleming 57.
Guptill became the first player to score ODI centuries at both Wellington grounds.
15,644 days between century no 1 and no 2 by a New Zealander in an ODI at the Basin Reserve. 13 days between century numbers 2 and 3.