Ross Taylor smashed a career-best 131 as New Zealand beat Pakistan by 110 runs to move atop their group at the Cricket World Cup.
New Zealand hit 100 runs from the last five overs to finish at 302-7 in Kandy, Sri Lanka, yesterday. Taylor struck 62 from 16 balls and Jacob Oram 25 from 9. Pakistan lost four early wickets on its way to 192 all out in reply.
Taylor, who was dropped on 8 by wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, celebrated his 27th birthday by finishing not out in his 124-ball innings as New Zealand went atop Group A with six points, ahead of Pakistan on run rate. The top four teams in each seven-team group move to the quarterfinals.
“I had a bit of luck early on which I put down to my birthday but towards the end there I hit a few boundaries which was pretty sweet,” Taylor said at the post-match presentation. “One of our strengths is the power we have down the bottom and it showed today.”
Fast bowlers Tim Southee and Kyle Mills backed up the power hitting by reducing Pakistan to 45-5 inside 15 overs, a position from which the 1992 world champion never recovered. Southee finished with 3-25, while Mills took 2-43.
Pakistan, which also has six points from four matches, was the only nation with a perfect record at this year’s tournament before yesterday. Co-host India faces the Netherlands in today’s Group B match in New Delhi.
New Zealand’s victory was tempered by an injury to Black Caps captain Daniel Vettori, who hurt his right knee while attempting a catch early during Pakistan’s innings. Vettori, the team’s front-line spinner, didn’t return to the field.
“Hopefully it’s just a bit of jarring,” Taylor said. “He’s key to our team and we need him for the rest of the tournament.”
England lost its second player in as many day when seam bowler Stuart Broad was ruled out of the rest of the competition because of a side strain.
Broad, 24, sustained the injury during England’s six-run win over South Africa three days ago, when he took 4-15 to help secure the victory. He’ll return to the U.K. from India for treatment, the England and Wales Cricket Board said.
“This is a new injury, separate from the abdominal tear suffered during the Ashes, that requires a period of recuperation and rehabilitation,” Nick Peirce, the ECB’s chief medical officer, said in the statement.
A replacement player for Broad is yet to be chosen, though Chris Tremlett is on standby with the squad.
Batsman Kevin Pietersen left the team two days ago to undergo surgery on a hernia and has been replaced by Eoin Morgan.