Williamson-Guptill record stand helps NZ to level series

HAMILTON: Skipper Kane Williamson and fellow opener Martin Guptill forged the highest partnership in Twenty20 Internationals to secure New Zealand a series-levelling 10-wicket victory against Pakistan in the second match in Hamilton on Sunday.

The 171-run stand between the pair, who shared the man-of-the-match award, bettered the previous record of 170 between South African openers Graeme Smith and Loots Bosman against England in a 2009 match at Centurion.

Opting to bat first, Pakistan posted 168 for seven in 20 overs with Umar Akmal (56 not out) and Shoaib Malik (39) scoring the bulk of the runs in the second match of the three-game series.

Akmal needed 22 balls for his fifty and hit four sixes as Pakistan settled for a score their bowlers eventually could not defend.

The tourists struggled to come to terms with the contrasting batting styles of New Zealand's opening pair who milked the Pakistan attack with consummate ease.

Williamson hit 11 boundaries to remain unbeaten on 72 as his team sealed victory with 14 balls to spare.

Guptill faced 10 more balls for his 87 not out, hitting four sixes and nine boundaries, the last of which sealed victory and created a new partnership record.

Wellington hosts the decider on Friday.