Wellington:Shahid Afridi won the toss and batted. Daniel Vettori wanted to do the same. Both captains expected the drop-in pitch at the Westpac Stadium to have runs in it. Instead, Pakistan's batsmen faced a torrid examination of their techniques during an extravagant display of swing and seam bowling from Tim Southee.
They were beaten innumerable times on both edges and five eventually succumbed to him. And the rest of the New Zealand attack, Hamish Bennett in particular, supported Southee by building pressure, giving away nothing. The outcome was a spectacular collapse that ended in the 38th over, leaving New Zealand with a modest target, which they overhauled with aggression.
The same sequence of events, with different characters, played on loop. A bowler pitched on a good length, the ball angled in before seaming away, the batsman fished, and if he was lucky, he missed. Pakistan's run-rate dipped below 3.50 after the second over and it did not reach that height again. Of the six boundaries that were hit in the first 30 overs, only two were the product of fluent strokes.
Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq, who secured victory in the Test series, struggled but appeared to be guiding Pakistan out of the mire. Then Bennett, a fast bowler built like an All Black, ripped through the resistance with a double-strike in two balls.
Amid the uncertainty over the identity of Pakistan's World Cup captain, Afridi failed while his deputy Misbah, defiant at one end, watched his team-mates come and go. Allan Donald, New Zealand's brand new bowling coach, looked on with satisfaction.
When New Zealand came out to chase, though, the Pakistan bowlers were unable to recreate the trouble their batsmen had suffered. Their lines and lengths were not bad initially, but the lateral movement was negligible, and Jesse Ryder, hurting after one duck too many in the Tests, went after them. He drove, hooked and slashed his way to a rapid half-century, and in the company of Martin Guptill, set up a nine-wicket victory with 32.4 overs to spare.
The result continued the trend of New Zealand skittling teams cheaply at the Westpac Stadium, and chasing with relative ease.
The afternoon had begun with Kamran Akmal threading a square drive through the narrow gap between two fielders in the point region - a false dawn. Southee's first ball was a wide outswinger that Kamran chased and missed. He then strayed on to the pads twice but wasn't punished by the openers. Southee was fine-tuning his line and length, and once he found it, he was swinging the ball into off and seaming it away. The one that cut back amid the outswingers only added to the confusion.
Mohammad Hafeez had struggled for eight scoreless deliveries before he poked at one that seamed away, edging Southee to Brendon McCullum. Kamran, who had shown patience and adequate technique for 22 balls, eventually chased another seaming delivery and watched Ryder leap to his left at point to take a sharp catch.
Asad Shafiq was unlucky to be given lbw because the one that nipped back into him, after he had been beaten by several outswingers, hit him high on the back thigh. Southee's first spell was 6-0-16-3.
Southee was not without support, though, for Franklin, Jacob Oram and Bennett were tight. There was pressure at both ends and wickets from one. Younis and Misbah nudged around for singles, unable to do much else.
Younis, beaten several times, smiled in the knowledge that today, unlike most other ODI days, would not be a batsman's day. And then he was late in pushing off the back foot against a quick one from Bennett and edged behind. Umar Akmal came and went in a jiffy, edging a rising delivery to first slip. Pakistan were 57 for 5.
They could have been worse off but Afridi's attempt to attack Vettori, a mis-timed loft to long-on, was dropped by Oram. Afridi was on 3. They were worse off soon, though, when Southee returned for his second spell and got Afridi to edge to McCullum, who leapt acrobatically across first slip to take his 200th catch.
In the 30th over Abdul Razzaq, the last of the recognised batsmen, square drove Oram for four. It was only the second shot of authority of the innings. A ball later he hung his bat out to edge behind. Abdur Rehman did likewise next ball.
Misbah, rapidly running out of partners, took the batting Powerplay in the 35th over and carted Oram over the midwicket boundary for the innings' only six. He attacked Southee too, lofting over cover and driving down the ground, desperate to add whatever he could to Pakistan's meagre total.
He got to a well-earned half-century, but then walked too far across his stumps to play to leg and was bowled. Fittingly, Southee was the bowler and the final wicket was his fifth.
Any hopes of Pakistan's bowlers triggering a collapse ended in the fifth over of the chase. Ryder took on Shoaib Akhtar, lofting over the off side for four, hooking for six and powering past mid-off in an over that cost 17. In the next over, Ryder carted Sohail Tanvir over mid-off and then swung a full ball over the square-leg boundary.
New Zealand had raced to 50 after six overs, when the tea break was taken. Ryder fell after the resumption but New Zealand, steered by Guptill, stormed to an emphatic victory that ended a streak of 11 consecutive defeats.