Pakistan beats NZ in 5th ODI, clinches series

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Hamilton, Feb 3 (AP) Ahmed Shehzad hit his maiden one-dayinternational century today to guide Pakistan to a 41-run winover New Zealand in the 5th one-day cricket international,clinching the six-match series.

Shehzad made 115 from 104 balls as Pakistan posted 268-9in its 50 overs after being sent in to bat on a slow pitch.

Umar Akmal made 32, the next-best score, and Misbahul-Haq (25) and Shahid Afridi (24) - rivals for Pakistan''sWorld Cup captaincy - offered support as Pakistan reached amoderate but competitive total.

In reply, New Zealand was bowled out for 227 in 46.5overs, with stand-in captain Ross Taylor top scoring with 69and Martin Guptill making 65. The pair put on 69 for NewZealand''s third wicket but their separation prompted thesteady decline of the New Zealand innings.

"We''ve had to wait a long time for Pakistan to win aseries but it''s come at the right time, just before the WorldCup," said Afridi, Pakistan''s current one-day captain.

Shehzad provided the thread that held together the top ofthe Pakistan innings. He batted freely but composedly, takingthe senior role in all of his partnerships and eclipsing hisprevious best one-day score of 43.

Umar Akmal tried to steer the latter part of the innings,making 32, but Pakistan fell well short of the total it mayhave expected when Shehzad was out in the 38th over at 197-4.

"I thought we would make 300, but we weren''t able to keepup the momentum," Afridi said.

New Zealand also restricted Pakistan with its slowerbowlers. Scott Styris took 2-51, Jacob Oram 2-49 and KyleMills, bowling mainly slow medium pace, took 2-42.

New Zealand''s run chase suffered an immediate setbackwhen opener Jesse Ryder was run out on the first ball of theinnings. Guptill steered the ball to Misbah ul-Haq at widemid-on, Ryder was backing up too far and Misbah threw down thestumps at the non-striker''s end.

Guptill worked hard to revive the innings, reaching hishalf century from 59 balls but he gave away his wicket with apoor shot, offering a catch to Umar Akmal off Shoaib Akhtar.

Taylor attempted to guide New Zealand to victory but hewasn''t able to score with fluency and the mounting run-rateplaced pressure on the lower middle order and tail. (MORE) APSNK

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