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3rd ODI report: Trent Boult took 5-17 as New Zealand bowled out Pakistan for 74 on Saturday to win the third one-day cricket international by 183 runs and take a winning 3-0 lead in the five-match series.
Boult took three wickets in the first four overs to leave the tourists three wickets down for two runs. At 16-6 in the 15th over, Pakistan was in danger of being bowled out for the lowest score in the history of one-day internationals — Zimbabwe's 35 against Sri Lanka in 2004.
The tourists escaped that ignominy with an unbeaten 14 from captain Sarfraz Ahmed and scores of 14 and 16 by tailenders Mohammad Amir and Rumman Raees.
A French-cut four by Amir from the bowling of Lockie Ferguson took Pakistan past the dreaded total of 35, then Sarfraz managed to guide his team beyond Pakistan's lowest-ever one-day total of 43 against the West Indies in 1993.
Some hit and hope cricket in the last few overs carried Pakistan to a total which was only its second lowest in one-day internationals, matching its 74 against England in 1992.
Boult bowled magnificently to prevent any chance of Pakistan challenging New Zealand's 257, which had earlier seemed precarious in batting conditions which were challenging but not impossible. Captain Kane Williamson made 73 and Ross Taylor 52, but the home side was also undone by a slow wicket at the University Oval, losing its last six wickets for 48.
Boult put the match beyond doubt in an opening spell in which he removed openers Azhar Ali (0) and Fakhar Zaman (2), then the veteran Mohammad Hafeez (0).
He had Azhar and Hafeez brilliantly caught by Taylor at first slip and bowled Fakhar who chopped a wide delivery onto his stumps.
Babar Azam was then run out in extraordinary circumstances, when his bat stuck in a used pitch neighboring the match wicket, and Shoaib Malik gave Taylor his third slip catch from the bowling of Lockie Ferguson, leaving Pakistan 5-15.
Williamson made an inspired decision to call on part-time medium pacer Colin Munro, who reveled in conditions in which the ball often held up on the surface. He bowled Shadab Khan to leave Pakistan 16-6 and in desperate straits.
Boult returned to end the innings and claim the Man of the Match award and his fourth five-wicket bag in ODIs.
"Obviously, it was nice to get a couple of wickets at the top and put pressure on their middle order," Boult said. "I think everyone did their job in terms of the bowling performance and the most important performances were the ones from the far end."
Williamson, who has a century already in the five-match series, took time to find his form and took 81 balls to reach his 33rd half century in one-day internationals and went on to top-score with 73.
Taylor was able to score more freely, perhaps because conditions favored the straight-bat shots which are his forte, and reached his 40th ODI half century from 49 balls.
Williamson put on 69 with Martin Guptill (45) for the second wicket and 74 with Taylor for the third to lift New Zealand to 158-3 before he was out in the 34th over.
After Taylor was out for 52 in the 43rd over with the total 209-4, New Zealand slumped dramatically, losing its next six wickets for 48 runs.
Henry Nicholls was out one ball after Taylor, both falling to the young leg-spinner Shadab Khan, and Tom Latham (35) and Mitchell Santner (6) fell to consecutive deliveries from Rumman Raees and Hasan Ali.
Ali, the top-ranked bowler in the world in ODIs, also dismissed Boult (13) with the last ball of the innings to finish with 3-59 while Raees took 3-51.
"The batting performance was very disappointing and it was a very tough loss," Pakistan captain Sarfraz said. "Our bowlers bowled well again but the batting was a big flop."
With inputs from AP