Jesse Ryder scored his second one-day international century to help New Zealand earn a face-saving 57-run victory over Pakistan at Eden Park yesterday in the sixth and final match of their series.
The win was just New Zealand’s second in their last 16 completed ODIs and was sorely needed to give them a hint of self-belief before they head to the World Cup in India, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
Ryder scored 107 and shared a 123-run partnership with Martin Guptill (44), while a 120-run partnership between Scott Styris (58 not out) and Nathan McCullum (65) at the end of the innings helped New Zealand to 311 for seven.
Kamral Akmal top-scored for the visitors with 89.
Shahid Afridi (44) also provided some late jitters for the Black Caps as he combined with Sohail Tanvir (30) before being caught by Nathan McCullum off Hamish Bennett, who finished with for four for 46.
James Franklin captured three for 50 to give the small crowd something to cheer about when Pakistan were dismissed for 254.
Ryder, who was struggling with a leg injury and needed a runner for the latter part of his innings, blazed his way to his first 50 off 34 balls before the Pakistani bowlers restricted New Zealand through the middle overs.
Ryder still managed to bring up his century off 82 balls with a flick off his hip to fine leg for his seventh boundary. He also hit six sixes.
Styris and Nathan McCullum then combined for a 120-run partnership, which included 71 runs in the third powerplay block of five overs before McCullum holed out in the deep.