WELLINGTON: Corey Anderson whacked a career-best 82 not out as New Zealand set Pakistan an imposing 197-run target in their deciding Twenty20 in Wellington on Friday.
Anderson, who missed the first half of the New Zealand summer because of injury, was at his big-hitting best in only the third match since his return.
He came to the crease when New Zealand were struggling to rebuild their innings after they lost two quick wickets following another flying start by Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson.
Anderson faced 42 deliveries and hit six fours and four sixes as he led New Zealand to 196-5, the highest Twenty20 total at Westpac Stadium.
At the head of the innings Guptill continued on from his unbeaten 87 in the second match with 42 off 19 balls as New Zealand raced to 57 in the first six overs.
But when Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi brought himself on he captured Guptill's wicket in his first over and crucially arrested the pace of the New Zealand innings.
Afridi opted to bowl after winning the toss, quoting the history of the stadium where all six previous Twenty20 fixtures have been won by the side batting second.
He had reason to feel he was in control when Colin Munro followed Guptill to the crease and faced only three balls before he ran himself out.
Williamson had played a circumspect innings until he started to force the pace when Anderson was settling in and was caught for 33 off 34 balls.
Ross Taylor faced only four balls before he retired hurt, and with New Zealand's top order rapidly returning to the pavilion Anderson took it upon himself to regain control.
Wahab Riaz was the most successful of the Pakistan bowlers with two for 43.
The three-match series is tied after Pakistan won the first tie by 16 runs and New Zealand won the second by 10 wickets.