New Zealand ushered themselves into World T20 contention last night at Westpac Stadium with a comprehensive victory against world-class Pakistan.
A ground record total and a fielding vice saw the hosts triumph by 95 runs in the final T20 international, giving them the series 2-1 and taking them to fifth in the world rankings.
The Black Caps built seismic pressure, first with a total of 196 for five, and next by reducing the visitors to 15 for three after 2.3 overs.
The score eclipsed the previous best at the venue by 33 runs, made against the West Indies two years ago.
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New Zealand also bucked a trend. Five of the previous six T20Is at the venue had been won by the chasing team.
The all-round capabilities of Corey Anderson and Grant Elliott, the opening partnership of Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson, and Adam Milne's pace in excess of 145km/h to gather 3-8 from 3.1 overs were highlights.
Man-of-the-match Anderson was the batting pivot with 82 off 42 balls, his highest T20I score. Post injury he still has the capability to dispatch at will. He backed up by opening the bowling, taking two for 17 from three overs before exiting with cramp.
It was ideal he spent quality time batting and bowling. He won't get another opportunity in this format before March's global tournament in India, and justified his elevation to No.4.
Elsewhere, Ross Taylor retired hurt for six off four balls with a left side strain and took no further part in the match.
The upside was that Elliott compiled 19 off 14 to get welcome exposure. His innings included a prototype stance on the bowling crease about 30cm outside off stump, reminiscent of the technique he used when Dale Steyn approached with the penultimate ball of the World Cup semi-final. Figures of 3-7 from two overs, perfecting his slower ball, added to his CV.
The hosts seized the initiative through openers Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson who posted 57 from six overs.
Pakistan used five of their six bowlers in that period, as they endured a Guptill clobbering in which he made 42 off 19 balls.
He looked in a state of batting zen from the first ball, threaded between cover and point off the front foot.
Guptill eventually hit against Shahid Afridi's spin with a slog sweep which saw Umar Akmal advance from long-on to take the catch.
Williamson's late cut worked well and he fed Guptill the strike. The pair's quick singles, particularly to mid-on were expertly judged.
The partnership looks the perfect balance; Guptill has taken the aggressor duties in Brendon McCullum's absence, and Williamson has never had a problem containing his ego.
New Zealand's sole hiccup came courtesy of a throw down of one stump by the recalled Mohammad Rizwan from mid-on. He removed non-striker Colin Munro for five when backing up too far.
Afridi was the best of the Pakistani bowlers, taking one for 27 from his allotment in what's expected to be the 35-year-old's final appearance in New Zealand. He set a commanding rhythm, broke the opening stand and was the only bowler to concede less than eight runs per over.
Pakistan's batting could muster little cadence. For all the goodwill Rizwan mustered through his Munro run out, he lost it with a shambolic piece of running after an Anderson lbw appeal. Mitchell Santner swooped from cover point to remove the bails.
Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed had moments of brilliance blasting through point but it could not be sustained as the required run rate accelerated to more than two runs a ball by the end of the ninth over.