Cricket: Pakistan draw first blood

By David Leggat

Shahid Afridi celebrates the wicket of Grant Elliott during Pakistan's win. Photo /
Shahid Afridi celebrates the wicket of Grant Elliott during Pakistan's win. Photo /

Pakistan started their New Zealand tour with an exciting 16-run win in the first of three T20 internationals at Eden Park tonight.

New Zealand needed 172 to win but were all out for 155.

They got off to a dreadful start with in-form Martin Guptill run out in a mixup with Kane Williamson in the second over.

However Colin Munro, fresh from his second fastest T20 half century against Sri Lanka, was flying again, going to his 50 in 25 balls, with six sixes, before playing a ball from Wahab Riaz onto his stumps at 56.

Corey Anderson chipped a catch back to Imad Wasim three balls later and things were delicately balanced.

But the loss of Grant Elliott and Luke Ronchi in a maiden over from Shahid Afridi turned the game decisively Pakistan's way.

New Zealand needed 39 off the last three overs, 30 off the last two and 20 from the last.

Captain Williamson struggled for timing for much of his innings, but eventually got going. His dismissal for 70 off 60 balls, caught at deep square leg off the first ball of the final over of the match by Riaz, cooked New Zealand's faint hopes.

Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi deservedly won the player of the match award.

He took two wickets, three catches and slammed 23 in eight balls just when Pakistan needed some impetus in their innings.

Pakistan reached 171 for eight and Afridi and Umar Akmal were largely responsible for 51 coming in 19 balls at just the right time.

Experienced opener Mohammad Hafeez scored a classy 61 off 47 balls, while Adam Milne took four for 37 in Pakistan's innings, although the pick of the bowlers was left arm spinner Mitchell Santner, who took two for 14 in four impressive overs.

The second game in the series is at Hamilton's Seddon Park on Sunday night.




- NZ Herald

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