(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) Pacer Trent Boult fired as New Zealand thrashed Pakistan by 47 runs in the opening match of one-day series at Sheikh Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Despite a valiant fight by skipper Sarfraz Ahmed (64) and 103-run partnership with Imad Wasim (50), Pakistan failed to recover from Boult's hat-trick while chasing 266 runs and slipped to 12th consecutive loss against the Kiwis since 2014.
New Zealand chose to bat first but Pakistan pacers Junaid Khan and Shaheen Shah Afridi attacked with right intent. Shaheen felled openers George Worker (1) and Colin Munro (29) in initial burst to push New Zealand to 36/2 inside eight overs. But experienced pair of Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor kept runs flowing through boundaries. However, Shadab Khan ended 42-run third-wicket stand by snaring Williamson (27). There was drama when Mohammad Hafeez was introduced into the attack as Taylor gestured to the umpire about the spinner's action. There was argument and counters between Sarfraz Ahmed and umpire. Hafeez had been earlier suspended by the ICC over illegal action.
Meanwhile, Tom Latham and Taylor bought the 100 up in 25 overs. They got to their fifties as Kiwis reached 200 in 40 overs. And just when the pair sought to shift gears, Shadab wrested the momentum with triple strikes in 42nd over. He ended a fruitful 130-run partnership by trapping Latham (68) leg before, followed it with scalps of Henry Nicholls (0) and Colin de Grandhomme (0). New Zealand crashed from 208/4 to 208/6 and Imad snared prized wicket of Taylor (80) to make it 210/7 inside 43 overs.
However, Ish Sodhi (24), Tim Southee (20) and Boult's last-ball six provided late fireworks to take New Zealand to 266/9. Shaheen and Shadab finished with four wickets apiece.
While chasing, New Zealand pacers Boult and Southee, once again, tormented Pakistan top-order. Boult, in his second over, knocked down Fakhar Zaman (1), then had Babar Azam (0) caught behind and got to his hat-trick by trapping Mohammad Hafeez (0) leg before. Boult's (3 for 54) strikes had Pakistan reeling at 8/3.
Then Shoaib Malik joined Imam Ul Haq and the duo cobbled 50 runs from 73 balls. But Lockie Ferguson removed Imam (34) to end 63-run fourth wicket stand. And de Grandhomme accounted for Shoaib (30) to have Pakistan at 73/5 inside 18 overs. Shadab was unlucky to be ruled caught behind. But there was sting in the tail. Sarfraz combined with Imad and edged Pakistan closer to the target with steady phase of responsible play. However, in a lapse of concentration Sarfraz was bowled by de Grandhomme to dash Pakistan hopes. Ferguson, with scalps of Shaheen and Hasan Ali, finished with three wickets.
Pakistan now face New Zealand in a must-win match in the same venue on Friday.