Misbah-ul-haq overcame the loss of late wickets to keep his cool and guide Pakistan to a two-wicket victory over New Zealand in their fourth one-day international match in Napier on Tuesday.
Misbah, who has anchored Pakistan's batting throughout the tour of New Zealand, proved once again a thorn in the side of Daniel Vettori's team, scoring 93 not out as Pakistan finished on 264 for eight in 49 overs having chased down the host's 262 for seven.
Pakistan's Test captain, who had been coasting to the victory target while batting with Younus Khan (42), was forced to take all the responsibility of getting his side home when Younus was run out in the 38th over.
Umar Akmal then scratched around for 10 off 17 balls before he was well caught in the 43rd over by Nathan McCullum off Vettori, who trapped Shahid Afridi in front two balls later to give New Zealand a faint hope of running through the bowlers to win the match and take a 2-1 lead in the best of six series.
Misbah, however, and Abdul Razzaq (23) managed to keep pace with the required run rate and while Razzaq was well caught by a hobbling Vettori, Misbah smashed 10 runs off two balls from Scott Styris and Sohail Tanvir (14) hit three boundaries off Tim Southee the next over to see their side home.
Late call-up James Franklin had proved the saviour of New Zealand's innings, which was about 30 runs short of a par total on a good batting wicket with short square boundaries.
Franklin was only brought into the side after Jesse Ryder, who injured a finger while playing for Wellington at the weekend, withdrew before play began.
The left-hander, who had scores of 72 not out, 98 not out and 17 not out in his previous three innings in India last December, top-scored with 62 to help arrest New Zealand's mid-innings slump.
The hosts had romped to 40 without loss but lost three wickets for four runs and then slumped to 79 for five before Franklin's 62-run partnership with Brendon McCullum (37) and a stand of 64 runs with Nathan McCullum (53 not out) halted the slide.
M. Guptill c Younus b Wahab 21
J. How c U. Akmal b Razzaq 13
R. Taylor c Younus b Wahab 4
S. Styris run out 11
K. Williamson c Younus b Hafeez 15
J. Franklin c Wahab b Afridi 62
B. McCullum c K. Akmal b Wahab 37
N. McCullum not out 53
D. Vettori not out 13
Extras: (w-19, nb-2, lb-12) 33
Total: (for seven wickets, 50 overs) 262.
Fall of wickets: 1-40, 2-44, 3-44, 4-68, 5-79, 6-141, 7-205.
Did not bat: T. Southee, H. Bennett. Bowling: Sohail 9-0-67-0 (w-3), Razzaq 7-3-16-1, Wahab 10-1-51-3 (w-6, nb-1), Gul 7-0-49-0 (w-4, nb-1), Hafeez 7-0-25-1 (w-2), Afridi 10-0-42-1
M. Hafeez c Taylor b Bennett 12
A. Shehzad c Taylor b Styris 42
K. Akmal c Taylor b Styris 20
Y. Khan run out 42
Misbah-ul-haq not out 93
U. Akmal c N. McCullum b Vettori 10
S. Afridi lbw b Vettori 4
A. Razzaq c Vettori b Bennett 23
W. Riaz c B. McCullum b Styris 0
S. Tanvir not out 14
Extras: (lb-3, w-1) 4
Total: (for eight wickets, 49 overs) 264.
Fall of wickets: 1-43, 2-71, 3-84, 4-173, 5-194, 6-198, 7-238, 8-250.
Did not bat: Umar Gul.
Bowling: Southee 10-0-70-0 (w-1), Bennett 10-0-48-2, N. McCullum 4-0-26-0, Vettori 10-0-48-2, Styris 9-0-40-3, Franklin 6-0-29-0.
Result: Pakistan won by two wickets
Pakistan lead best of six series 2-1
Man of match: Misbah-ul-haq (Pakistan).
Next match: Feb. 3, Hamilton
Jan. 22 - New Zealand won by nine wickets
Jan. 26 - Match abandoned due to rain
Jan. 29 - Pakistan won by 43 runs