Blackcaps v Pakistan: Opener Finn Allen's recordbreaking century guides NZ to victory, series win at Dunedin

Blackcaps opener Finn Allen has stamped his arrival as a world-class white-ball performer, guiding his team to a 45-run Twenty20 victory over Pakistan, as they clinched their five-match series at Dunedin's University Oval.

Picking up where he left off at Hamilton two days earlier, Allen thrashed the Pakistan bowlers around and out of the venue for his second T20I ton, surpassing Brendon McCullum for the highest individual score in NZ history with 137, while equalling the world record for sixes in an innings.

Losing the toss for the third time in the series, the home side were sent into bat first - again - running up 224/7 in their 20 overs, with Allen contributing most of those runs.

Finn Allen celebrates his T20I century against Pakistan.
Finn Allen celebrates his T20I century against Pakistan. Photo credit: Photosport

With captain Kane Williamson at home, nursing a hamstring strain, Tim Seifert was slotted into first drop in the batting order and handed the keeping gloves, while Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry replaced Adam Milne and Ben Sears with the ball.

New Zealand suffered an early blow, when opener Devon Conway continued his scratchy recent form, hoisting Haris Rauf into the infield, where Mohammad Nawaz accepted the catch.

At the other end, Allen was flexing his newfound confidence at international level, smashing consecutive deliveries from Shaheen Shah Afridi out of the venue. He went six-four-four-six-six-single off Rauf's second over and brought up his fifth T20i fifty in 26 balls.

Seifert was largely a spectator, feeding the strike to his big-hitting teammate and quietly accumulating at a run a ball, but edging through vacant slips to the boundary, as the Blackcaps reached halfway at 103/1. 

Rauf's third over went wide-six-six-wide-wide-six, before Allen mercifully lost strike with a single. Another maximum off Shaheen in the next over gave Allen the most sixes (11) in a T20i innings for an NZ batter.

Two balls later, he had his century off 48 balls, with a superbly driven four off the Pakistan captain.

The partnership had accumulated 125 off 61 deliveries, when Seifert tried to emulate his mate and was caught on the boundary, off Mohammad Wasim, for 31, as the NZ batters sought to accelerate the innings.

Daryl Mitchell exited quickly, caught trying to flick Mohammad Nawaz over fine leg and failing. 

Consecutive sixes off Wasim took Allen past McCullum (123) for New Zealand's highest score. Another straight back over Zaman Khan equalled the world record held by Afghan Hazratullah Zazai (16) against Ireland, but the bowler finally ended the fun, when his next ball took out Allen's stumps.

Allen's 137 runs came off 62 balls, breaking all kinds of scoring records at this venue and against these opponents.

With his tormentor gone, Rauf returned for his last over, already reeling from his worst-ever bowling performance, and gained the consolation wicket of Mark Chapman for figures of 2/60 off four overs.

Adding insult to injury, Pakistan were penalised for their slow play and limited to only three outfielders for the last over. Mitch Santner was run out attempting a second run, Glenn Phillips skied a top edge to a diving Saim Ayub and New Zealand finished at 224/7. 

The tourists did well to pull the scoring back, taking 4/18 off the last 17 balls.

Pakistan began slowly in their chase and quickly slipped behind the required rate, before Ayub lofted a slower ball from Tim Southee to Ferguson.

Finn Allen in action against Pakistan.
Finn Allen in action against Pakistan. Photo credit: Photosport

The rate had climbed to 13 runs an over, when Mohammad Rizwan tried to guide Santner through vacant slips and edged to Seifert behind the stumps.

As they were at Auckland and Hamilton, Pakistan looked most dangerous with Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman in the middle, and that pair reached halfway at 88/2. 

Fakhar sliced Ferguson high towards Santner, who completed the catch, and a shaky middle order was exposed.

Powerfully built wicket keeper Azam Khan hinted at his potential with one big six, but was caught on the boundary by Phillips, attempting another. Iftikhar Ahmed was found short of his ground by a pinpoint return from Santner.

Babar kept swinging and reached his fifty off 33 balls, but the required run rate had risen to 19.5 and victory was gone. He tried to target Ish Sodhi's spin with consecutive fours, but Phillips took another running catch on the rope to end his resistance for 58.

Nawaz and skipper Shaheen put on a jaunty 40 off 19 balls, before the former nicked Southee to Seifert with the first ball of the final over and end came quickly. 

With the series now assured for the hosts, both teams move north for dead rubbers on Friday and Sunday at Christchurch.

New Zealand 224/7 (Allen 137, Seifert 31; Rauf 2/60) Pakistan 179/7 (Babar 58, Nawaz 28; Southee 2/29)

NZ win by 45 runs, lead series 3-0

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