Birthday boy Taylor stars for NZ

Kandy, Sri Lanka – Ross Taylor’s brilliant birthday century sparked one of the most devastating displays of lower-order hitting ever seen in the ICC Cricket World Cup history as New Zealand recorded a morale boosting 110-run run win over Pakistan on Tuesday.

After Martin Guptill’s half century (57) had set New Zealand up with a solid platform, against an excellent Pakistan bowling attack, led superbly by Umar Gul who took 3-32, New Zealand looked like it would set Pakistan a modest target for victory at the spanking new Pallekele Stadium.

However, some powerful blows from Nathan McCullum sparked a remarkable display of hitting which saw 114 scored off the final six overs of the innings, including 12 sixes. Taylor, who celebrated his 27th birthday, was dropped by Kamran Akmal when on just four. He struggled early on but finished up 131 not out, off just 124 balls, with eight fours and seven sixes.

After Martin Guptill’s half century (57) had set New Zealand up with a solid platform, against an excellent Pakistan bowling attack, led superbly by Umar Gul who took 3-32, New Zealand looked like it would set Pakistan a modest target for victory.

However, some powerful blows from Nathan McCullum sparked a remarkable display of hitting which saw 114 scored off the final six overs of the innings, including 12 sixes. Jacob Oram also hit three huge sixes in an impressive cameo where he scored 25 off just nine deliveries as New Zealand reached 302-7 off 50 overs.
 

Taylor revealed that he was using a damaged bat during his onslaught.

“I cracked it in the nets a couple of days ago but it seemed to go OK today ... hopefully the new one will be just as good,” he said. “I’ve only had it for a couple of weeks. One of our strengths is the power we have down at the bottom and it showed the way Nathan McCullum and Jake (Oram) batted.”

New Zealand’s seamers stunned Pakistan’s top order in reply as it crumbled to 23-4, with Kyle Mills and Tim Southee bowling superbly with the new ball.

Abdul Razzak’s powerful late order hitting, which saw him make 62, and Umar Gul’s 34 not out, briefly gave Pakistan fans some hope, but it simply had too much to do.

However, a knee injury to Daniel Vettori, who had to come off the field after injuring himself attempting to catch Kamran Akmal, will have taken some gloss off an excellent victory for New Zealand.