Pakistan beat New Zealand by 16 runs in the first of the three-match T20 series courtesy captain Shahid Afridi’s all-round performance.
Pakistan were sent in to bat first by the Kiwis as Muhammad Hafeez’s 61 off 47 inspired them to a total of 171-8.
New Zealand, despite having a pacy attack, were helped by a spinner Mitchell Santner. He bowled four overs for 14 runs and bagged two scalps.
In their reply, New Zealand were comfortably set to win the match as Colin Munro hit 56 off 27 balls. Kane Williamson supported him and held one side of the wicket till the very end with 70 off 60 balls but he was not able to guide the team past the winning line.
After being 89-1 in 9.5 overs, the Kiwis ended the match with 155 runs on the board with all batsman back in the pavilion.
Man-of-the-match Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi: I think it was a great start in batting. Hafeez played an awesome inning. We arrived two days ago. Boys were not used to of the pitch and conditions. After some overs they went after the bowlers once they understood the pitch. I was very confident that we could defend 170 with this line of bowlers. I must credit fast bowlers. Amir and Gul did a great job on their comeback. NZ are playing great cricket. We are capable of winning against any team in the world. We are playing game by game. New game, new plan. Each and every game is important for the team.
Kane Williamson: Pakistan played well. We bowled well in the previous match. We started well in batting but lost momentum in the middle. We wanted to take pace off the ball. We would have liked to bowl more spinners. From our perspectives these are small steps towards improvement. It is tough to regain momentum with a quality bowling attack like Pakistan on the other side.
Pakistan: A Shehzad, M Hafeez, S Maqsood, S Malik, U Akmal, *S Afridi, +S Ahmed, I Wasim, Wahab Riaz, U Gul, M Amir
New Zealand: M Guptill, *K Williamson, C Munro, C Anderson, G Elliott, +L Ronchi, M Santner, T Astle, A Milne, M Henry, T Boult