The Black Caps' cricket tour of Pakistan has been cancelled due to a security threat.
The first of three ODI clashes in Rawalpindi was meant to begin at 9.30pm Friday (NZT), but the players never made it to the ground, being told to stay inside their rooms at their hotel, situated roughly 15 minutes from the venue. Fans were also not allowed into the ground.
New Zealand Cricket then announced that the tour had been called off, and the players would be heading home, due to increased security concerns.
"Following an escalation in the New Zealand Government threat levels for Pakistan, and advice from NZC security advisors on the ground, it has been decided the Black Caps will not continue with the tour," New Zealand Cricket said in a statement.
"Arrangements are now being made for the team's departure."
The Black Caps had landed in Pakistan on September 11 and after a brief isolation had completed three training sessions. The series was set to be New Zealand's first in Pakistan since 2003, with five Twenty20s planned in Lahore to follow the three one-day matches.
The team had not toured Pakistan since 2003 due to security concerns in the country.
In May 2002, New Zealand abandoned their test series in Pakistan after a suicide bomb attack outside their Karachi hotel, while in 2009, the Sri Lanka team's bus was attacked near Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
NZC chief executive David White said it was not possible to continue with the tour given the advice he was receiving.
"I understand this will be a blow for the PCB, who have been wonderful hosts, but player safety is paramount and we believe this is the only responsible option."
The Pakistan Cricket Board released a statement saying that "no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team", with Pakistan Prime Minister and former cricket great Imran Khan having spoken to New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in an attempt to reassure her.
"Earlier today, New Zealand Cricket informed us they had been alerted to some security alert and have unilaterally decided to postpone the series," the PCB said.
"Pakistan Cricket Board and Pakistan Government made foolproof security arrangements for all visiting teams. We have assured the New Zealand Cricket of the same. The Pakistan Prime Minister spoke personally to the Prime Minister of New Zealand and informed her that we have one of the best intelligence systems in the world and that no security threat of any kind exists for the visiting team.
"The security officials with the New Zealand team have been satisfied with security arrangements made by the Pakistan Government throughout their stay here.
"PCB is willing to continue the scheduled matches. However, cricket lovers in Pakistan and around the world will be disappointed by this last-minute withdrawal."
Ardern detailed her conversation with Khan and supported NZC's decision.
"When I spoke with the Prime Minister of Pakistan I conveyed our thanks for taking care of the New Zealand cricket team. I know how disappointing it will be for everyone that the game hasn't gone ahead, but we totally support the decision that's been made. Player safety has to be paramount."
New Zealand Cricket Players Association chief executive Heath Mills also said they were onboard with the move.
"We've been across this process throughout and are fully supportive of the decision," he said.
"The players are in good hands; they're safe – and everyone's acting in their best interests."
The Black Caps' next matches are set to be at the Twenty20 World Cup, which begins in the United Arab Emirates at the end of October. Their first opponent will be Pakistan.