Pakistan seal series victory

Ahmed Shehzad hit a maiden one-day international century to inspire Pakistan to a 41-run win against New Zealand, clinching the six game series in the process. The two sides will head to Auckland for the final match of the series with Pakistan 3-1 in the lead and in some decent form heading into the World Cup later this month.

On a slow pitch in Hamilton, Pakistan made 268-9 from their 50 overs after being sent into bat by the hosts. The innings was held together by opener Shehzad's 115 from 109 deliveries, which included 13 fours and three sixes. Umar Akmal was the next top scorer with 32 as the rest of the team provided just enough support for the free-scoring Shehzad. Kyle Mills, Scott Styris and Jacob Oram all finished with two wickets apiece but none managed to get the all important scalp of Shehzad and anyone who had placed a cricket bet on Pakistan would have been delighted by his performance.

The Kiwis' innings never really recovered from losing Jesse Ryder from the first delivery of the innings, the tubby opener run out at the non-striker's end with his side yet to score. Martin Guptill's 65 from 70 balls breathed life into his side's innings before stand-in captain Ross Taylor top scored with 69. The Pakistan bowlers did their job well, Wahab Riaz finishing with 3-51 supported by Umar Gul and Shahid Afridi who took two wickets each to bowl out the hosts for 227 with three overs left.

Although the World Cup won't be held in Pakistan, playing in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka will feel pretty close to home for Misbah-ul-Haq and his side. After such a disastrous 2010 both on and off the pitch, Pakistan will be desperate to start 2011 with a good showing.