New Zealand draw first blood in Pakistan T20 series

Published December 18, 2020
New Zealand’s batsman Tim Seifert plays a shot during the first T20 international cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park in Auckland on December 18. — AFP
New Zealand’s batsman Tim Seifert plays a shot during the first T20 international cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park in Auckland on December 18. — AFP
Shaheen Shah Afridi (C) celebrates the wicket of New Zealand’s Tim Seifert with teammates during the first T20 international cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park in Auckland on December 18. — AFP
Shaheen Shah Afridi (C) celebrates the wicket of New Zealand’s Tim Seifert with teammates during the first T20 international cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park in Auckland on December 18. — AFP
Shadab Khan bats as New Zealand’s wicketkeeper Tim Seifert (L) looks on during the first T20 international cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park in Auckland on December 18.  — AFP
Shadab Khan bats as New Zealand’s wicketkeeper Tim Seifert (L) looks on during the first T20 international cricket match between New Zealand and Pakistan at Eden Park in Auckland on December 18. — AFP

New Zealand defeated Pakistan by five wickets in the first Twenty20 international at Auckland's Eden Park on Friday.

The Black Caps ended on 156 for five with seven balls to spare after losing the toss and being set a target of 154.

Tim Seifert top-scored for the hosts with 57, while debutant paceman Jacob Duffy took four for 33. Duffy was also named the man of the match.

Pakistan never recovered from a slow start, despite a fighting 42 from stand-in captain Shadab Khan. Haris Rauf was the tourists' best bowler, taking three for 29

Pakistan, after winning the toss and opting to bat first, had managed to reach 153 runs for the loss of 9 wickets.

Pakistan's innings got off to a shaky start as the hosts lost four wickets – Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Muhammad Hafeez and Muhammad Rizwan – in the first five overs with just 20 runs on the board.

Shadab, who is leading the side after Babar's injury, gave some stability and anchored the innings, scoring 42 from 32 balls before being dismissed by Duffy.

Pakistan had a rocky preparation for the match when 10 of their touring party tested positive to Covid-19 during quarantine after arriving in New Zealand.

Players also received a rebuke from local health authorities for flouting social distancing rules, and were unable to train until they were allowed out of their hotel on December 8.

Shadab said it was a relief to finally be playing.

“It looks a very good pitch, we want to put a score on,” he said, eyeing Eden Park's short boundaries. Pakistan are missing regular captain Babar Azam, who fractured a thumb in training last week.

The Black Caps are also without regular captain Kane Williamson, absent after the birth of his first child.

Replacement Mitchell Santner said his side wanted to build on the recent 2-0 T20 series win over the West Indies against a talented Pakistan team.

“We know they're a quality side but we're up for a challenge and I think we're ready,” he said.

The Black Caps are also without injured fast bowler Lockie Ferguson, man of the series against the West Indies, and veteran batsman Ross Taylor, who was dropped after struggling for form in T20s. Paceman Jacob Duffy makes his debut.

Pakistan are fourth in the world T20 rankings and New Zealand are sixth.

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner (capt), Mark Chapman, Scott Kuggeleijn, Ish Sodhi, Jacob Duffy, Blair Tickner.

Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan, Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan (capt), Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf.

Umpires: Shaun Haig (NZL), Wayne Knights (NZL)

TV umpire: Chris Brown (NZL) Match referee: Jeff Crowe (NZL)

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