New Zealand beat Pakistan to enter World Cup on a roll

 Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor both scored centuries as New Zealand completed their World Cup preparations with a crushing 119-run win over Pakistan in Napier on Tuesday.

Reuters| Last Updated: Feb 03, 2015, 18:17 PM IST
New Zealand beat Pakistan to enter World Cup on a roll

Wellington: Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor both scored centuries as New Zealand completed their World Cup preparations with a crushing 119-run win over Pakistan in Napier on Tuesday.

It was their eighth win in their last 10 completed matches.

Brendon McCullum`s side won the two-match series 2-0 after they had defeated Sri Lanka 4-2 at home and won their last two games to clinch a 3-2 series victory against Pakistan in United Arab Emirates in December.

"We have to be happy where we are at," McCullum said in a televised interview. "We have been playing some perfect games of late and now the challenge is to maintain that and be consistent going into the World Cup.

"This has been the ideal preparation for us so we have no excuses come the big event."

Williamson led the hosts to an imposing 369 for five in their 50 overs, the second highest score on the batsman-friendly McLean Park, before they dismissed Pakistan for 250 with almost seven overs remaining. The highest score was the 373-8 New Zealand scored against Zimbabwe in 2012. 

Pakistan began their chase well with Mohammad Hafeez (86) and Ahmed Shehzad (55) putting on an 111-run opening stand but once Shehzad was caught in the deep by Adam Milne, the wheels fell off their innings as New Zealands` bowlers exerted pressure on the visitors` lineup.

"It was a really tough series," Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq said. "We tried our best but we need to improve in every area. 

"We just gave away 370 runs and we need to improve our bowling, especially at the death. If any batsman is set, then they need to continue till the end."

The 24-year-old Williamson (112) had earlier continued his superb run of form by scoring his sixth ODI century. He has now scored 753 runs in 11 innings since the beginning of December.

He also combined in a 128-run partnership with Martin Guptill (76) and added 79 runs with Taylor (102 not out), who brought up his 12th one-day century off the final delivery. It was the 100th ODI century by a New Zealand batsman.

The match is the last official game both sides will play before the Feb 14-March 29 World Cup, though they have scheduled warm-up clashes against other sides in the next 10 days.