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Pakistan- New Zealand Series

Ton-up Zaman helps Pakistan defeat New Zealand in first ODI



Photo: Fakhar Zaman celebrates after scoring a hundred

|| AFP ||

Opener Fakhar Zaman hit a splendid century to anchor Pakistan's five-wicket win against New Zealand in the first one-day international in Rawalpindi on Thursday. 

The left-hander smashed 13 boundaries and a six in his 117 made off 114 balls for his ninth ODI hundred as Pakistan chased down a target of 289 in 48.3 overs.  

The victory gives Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

All-rounder Daryl Mitchell also made a century, scoring a brilliant 115-ball 113 while opener Will Young hit 86 to guide New Zealand to a challenging total of 288-7 in their 50 overs.

It was Zaman who carried the day for the home team, bringing Pakistan within 34 runs of victory before being finally caught off a miscued shot.

Imam-ul-Haq (60 off 65 balls) and Zaman put on 124 for the first wicket by the 22nd over, negating New Zealand's attack on a flat Pindi stadium pitch.

Once Haq, who hit five boundaries and a six in his 15th ODI fifty, was removed leg-before by spinner Ish Sodhi, Pakistan were carried further towards the target by a 90-run stand between Zaman and skipper Babar Azam.

Azam fell one short of a half century when he edged pacer Adam Milne behind the stumps to Tom Latham. He hit three fours and a six off 46 balls.

Pakistan stuttered when Shan Masood fell for a miserable 12-ball one and Agha Salman for seven but Mohammad Rizwan ensured the opportunity was not wasted by hitting the winning boundary during his 34-ball 42 not out.

Earlier, Mitchell smashed his highest ODI score to anchor New Zealand's innings after they were sent in to bat.

Mitchell, who hit 11 fours and a six, added 102 for the second wicket with opener Young who played an attractive 78-ball knock.

Mitchell finally holed out at deep mid-wicket off fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi in the 47th over, improving on his previous best of 100 not out against Bangladesh in 2021.

Young hit eight boundaries and two sixes before being caught off spinner Shadab Khan at long-off.

Mitchell, dropped on 23 by Salman off his own bowling, then boosted New Zealand's innings with a solid stand of 72 with Latham (20).

But against some tight bowling, the visitors managed just 66 in the last ten overs.

Mark Chapman, who starred for New Zealand in the preceding five-match Twenty20 series which ended 2-2, was bowled by pacer Haris Rauf after scoring 15.

For Pakistan, Naseem Shah had figures of 2-29, Shaheen 2-63 and Rauf 2-65. 

The remaining matches are in Rawalpindi on Saturday and in Karachi on May 3, 5 and 7.