New Zealand marched to a 13th consecutive victory across all formats, defeating Pakistan by seven wickets with 4.1 overs to spare to open the three-match Twenty20 series in Wellington.

The visitors' reached 105, offering few answers to the hosts' interrogation after getting sent in.

They served up nine catches, a stumping and a highest partnership of 30 on a pitch whose qualities for unfettered batsmanship were debatable.

Pakistan placed New Zealand's order under pressure early at eight for two, but Colin Munro (49 not out from 43 balls) and Tom Bruce (26 from 22 balls) delivered a partnership of 49 for the third-wicket which steadied and ultimately ensured the win.


Munro took a knock to the right wrist from a run out shy, but was undeterred. The left-hander helped add 49 further unbeaten runs with Ross Taylor (22 from 13 balls) to complete the win, courtesy of a Hasan Ali wide from the final ball.

The result was observed by a sparse 8688-strong crowd on the province's anniversary day, raising further questions whether New Zealand's success is breeding apathy ahead of Australia and England's arrival next month.

New Zealand had effectively decided the contest before the halfway point in Pakistan's innings with their bowling and fielding menace.

A flood of wickets saw the tourists reduced to 38 for six after 9.2 overs.

They could not drive any momentum through New Zealand's checkpoints. Only Babar Azam (41 from as many balls) and Hasan Ali (23 off 12) offered respite.

At the forefront of the local effort was Anaru Kitchen.

22 Jan, 2018 1:19pm
2 minutes to read

In his fourth T20, the 33-year-old featured in three of the opening four wickets. He took two catches to dismiss both openers. The second, running back from cover point, gave the impression he was bobbling an overfilled bag of groceries. Kitchen then bowled one over, in which he dismissed Haris Sohail - Pakistan's most effective batsman in the final ODI - for nine. He looped one of his left-arm orthodox deliveries up, and Haris drove it to Bruce at short cover.

Stand-in captain Tim Southee (three wickets for 13 runs) and Seth Rance (three for 26) delivered impressive spells but Mitchell Santner (two for 15) arguably made the biggest difference. He combined with Glenn Phillips to execute the stumping of captain Sarfraz Ahmed and coaxed an edge from Shadab Khan.

Sarfraz was stranded centimetres short while employing a splits manoeuvre to rival Nadia Comaneci; Shadab's tickle had Phillips juggling the ball as if he moonlights in the circus.
Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur lamented their lack of top order progress after the final one-day international, having gone down 5-0.

"[They] haven't done the job this series. Sometimes losing allows a bit of soul searching to rejig the team and ensure you're on the right page… particularly in foreign conditions. It's so incredibly frustrating at the moment.

"They're used to scoring off the front foot and square of the wicket. In New Zealand you score predominantly off the back foot and, if you get on the front foot, you generally hit straight."

It's hard to imagine Arthur's mood lightening in the wake of that performance.

Kane Williamson was absent for New Zealand with what management described as a "stiff side".

He was replaced by Taylor, as occurred when the team met the West Indies at Nelson in late December.