Opener Tim Seifert bat for 84 points in an unbroken 129-innings partnership with Kane Williamson to lead New Zealand to a nine-wicket victory over Pakistan in Sunday’s second Twenty20 international game and an unassailable lead of 2 -0 in the three-game series.
Williamson finished 57th on his return to short format as New Zealand topped Pakistan’s 6-163 total with four balls to spare.
Seifert took his runs from just 63 balls with eight fours and three sixes, unleashing a wide variety of shots on a flat wicket against a Pakistani attack that struggled to find consistently tough lengths.
Williamson was irritable at first, then went unstoppable, reaching his 12th half-century international T20 from 37 balls on the same field where he scored a better 251 test in his final innings.
“It was a good surface, good for bowlers, but obviously if you could partner up you could do it,” said Williamson.
Previously, veteran Mohammad Hafeez went undefeated on 99, his highest score in 98 T20 internationals, as Pakistan again fell short of a tough total.
Hafeez came in last of 82 steps out, hit three singles, a six and a four and was 93 steps out with just one ball left in the innings.
He did his best, reaching the final delivery for six to finish just before a first century.
New Zealand were bolstered on Sunday by the return of four members of its test team, including Williamson, who missed the series opener.
Williamson also missed the second test against the West Indies due to the birth of his first child.
Tim Southee, Trent Boult and Kyle Jamieson also returned, giving New Zealand a whole new attack of rhythm.
Southee made his presence felt, taking 4-21 of his four overs to weaken Pakistan’s innings.
Boult took 0-33 and Jamieson 0-43, but New Zealand generally played well after losing the toss.
Pakistan also won the toss and hit in the series opener at Eden Park.
He was caught off guard when his leading batsmen went too fast at first, not waiting for the pace of a pitch where the ball sometimes stopped but also bounced sharply.
The first order failed and Pakistan was 5-39 before recovering at 9-153.
Confident that his batsmen had learned this lesson, Captain Shadab Khan struck again to win the toss.
Again, Pakistan’s top-notch batsmen were probably too impatient and, facing Southee’s first spell in which he took 3-16 from three overs, dropped to 4-56.
Mohammad Rizwan hit two fours off Boult’s first and Haider hit Southee’s second ball on six, suggesting that early aggression was good policy.
But Southee fired back as the ball rocked a bit, claiming the wickets of Haider and Abdullah Shafique within two balls of his first pass to put Pakistan on the back foot at 2-16.
Rizwan made a solid 22 from 20 balls with four limits to restore momentum.
He played classic cricket shots and looked in good shape when he hit a Southee ball that choked him, edging goalkeeper Tim Seifert.
Shadab then fell, getting too close to his body and grabbing Southee from Jimmy Neesham’s bowling alley.
From 4-56, Hafeez started the innings in a 63-point wicket fifth partnership with Khushdil Shah (14).
Faheem Ashraf (4) was Pakistan’s top scorer in the series opener, but went and went quickly on Sunday.
Hafeez stayed and held the innings together, dominating the scoring and reaching his 14th half-century T20 at 37 balls.
New Zealand’s innings got a stronger start with forerunners Martin Guptill and Seifert scoring 35 in 3.3 overs before Guptill was caught at Faheem’s bowling alley.
Seifert, who scored 57 in Auckland, resumed the attack, hitting three sixes with four balls in the seventh over, played by Wahab Riaz.
The first was pulled flat on the square back, the second hit the ground and the third was hoisted onto the square in the eastern terraces.
Seifert hit his second 50 in a row of 32 balls with five fours and three sixes.
After 10 overflights New Zealand was 1-91-1 while Pakistan was 4-65.
New Zealand came in last with five points to win.
Williamson missed the first ball but slammed the second into the hands of the limit defender for four to seal the victory.