Rawalpindi, April 28: Pakistan beat New Zealand in a clinical fashion by five wickets in the first ODI of the 5-match series in Rawalpindi on Thursday evening.
In pursuit of 289-run target on a placid Rawalpindi track, Pakistan chased with ease. The opening duo comprising Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq stitched a 124-run partnership in 21.2 overs.
Laced with 13 fours and a six, Zaman amassed 117 runs in 114 balls while Imam lost his wicket after scoring 60 in 65 balls. For his batting heroics, Zaman was adjudged player of the match.
Skipper Babar Azam was in supreme touch as he made 49 runs in 46 balls and forged a 90-run partnership with Zaman. Babar got out when the scoreboard read 214-2 in the 36th over.
Earlier, riding high on a century by Daryl Mitchell (113) and a fine 86 by opening batter Will Young, Kiwis posted a decent 288 on the board.
Pakistani pacers were on song as Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf and Shaheen Shah Afridi took two wickets, each. Naseem was the most impressive of the pace bowlers, conceding just 29 runs from his quota of 10 overs. Leg spinner Shadab Khan took one wicket.
For New Zealand, Adam Milne took two wickets while spinner Ish Sodhi and pacer Tickner were impressive and economical, conceding 51/1 and 52/1 respectively.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam is now only 142 runs away from crossing the 5,000-run mark in ODIs.