Hamilton: Ahmed Shehzad posted his maiden one-day international century to guide Pakistan to 268-9, batting first in Thursday's fifth one-day international against New Zealand.
Shehzad took 115 from 104 balls, sharing partnerships of 53 with Kamran Akmal, 47 with Younis Khan and 77 with Misbah ul-Haq to steer Pakistan's innings to a competitive total after New Zealand had won the toss and bowled.
Pakistan lost opener Mohammad Hafeez in the seventh over with the score on only 20 but Shehzad batted fluently, striking 12 fours and three sixes while also milking regular singles to establish the tempo of the innings.
Pakistan leads the six-match series 2-1 after winning the third and fourth matches. New Zealand won the first and the second was abandoned due to rain.
New Zealand suffered a setback when captain Daniel Vettori was forced to withdraw from its lineup shortly before play began because of a hamstring strain suffered in Tuesday's match at Christchurch.
Ross Taylor took over as captain of a revamped lineup as New Zealand continued a rotational selection policy ahead of this month's World Cup.
Taylor won the toss and chose to bowl in overcast conditions, hoping for some help for his swing bowlers, but there was little and New Zealand relied on bowling a restrictive line and length.
Kyle Mills took 2-42 from his 10 overs, while Nathan McCullum bowled his 10 overs consecutively and finished with 1-40. Jacob Oram took 2-49 and Scott Styris 2-51. All bowled around 110 to 120 kilometers per hour, making strokeplay difficult as the ball held up and invited skied shots.
Umar Akmal tried to steer the latter part of the innings, making 32, but Pakistan fell well short of the total it may have expected when Shehzad was out in the 38th over at 197-4.
Then, a total of around 300 seemed likely but New Zealand used slow bowlers on a slow pitch to restrict run-scoring. Pakistan batsmen attempted some big hitting to accelerate the run rate in the closing over but succeeded only in delivering a series of catches and run outs.