2 Feb 2011

New Zealand rue another top order collapse as Pakistan take series lead

6:23 am on 2 February 2011

An unbeaten 93 by Misbah-ul-Haq paved the way for Pakistan's narrow two-wicket victory over New Zealand in the fourth one-day cricket international in Napier last night.

The win puts Pakistan 2-1 up in the six-match series with one game abandoned as both sides fine-tune ahead of this month's World Cup on the subcontinent.

Set a modest target of 263 to win on a track described by captain Shahid Afridi as a batmen's nirvana Pakistan appeared to have misjudged their run chase as the match headed for a tense finish.

But tailender Sohail Tanvir took control, arriving in the middle with two overs remaining, two wickets left and 13 runs required and didn't give Misbah a chance to reach his century as the bowler smacked 14 off Tim Southee in the penultimate over to settle the outcome.

It was a match with a familiar feel for New Zealand as their specialist batsmen failed on a track where 300 is considered par and it was left to the middle and tail order to bolster the tally.

James Franklin, a late addition to the New Zealand side after Jesse Ryder pulled out with a finger injury just before the match, top scored for the Black Caps with 62 off 75 balls.

The fifth match of the series takes place in Hamilton on Thursday.