01 February 2015

1st ODI vs Pakistan, Wellington

In an odd little addendum to the mammoth seven-match ODI series against Sri Lanka, which New Zealand won 4-2, Pakistan have also arrived and are playing two ODIs against New Zealand in preparation for the World Cup. The first was held yesterday, a day-nighter at Wellington's Stadium. The conditions were perfect, with almost no wind and warm temperatures, in line with the run of amazing summer weather the capital has been enjoying these past few weeks.

Pakistan was put into bat, doubtless because of the few spits of rain that wafted around in the morning but failed to cause any problems for the game. The visitors' batting seemed tentative and the run-rate failed to accelerate, with wickets falling at steady intervals until number eight batsman Shahid Afridi arrived. Afridi, who is getting on for nearly 400 ODI appearances, took to the New Zealand bowling with his traditional manic onslaught and struck 67 from 29 balls including nine fours and three sixes, making it all look rather easy. Captain Misbah-ul-Haq was the other fifty in the Pakistan innings, comprising 58 from 87 balls, but few others contributed and in the end the innings limped to conclude at 210 all out in the 46th over. All-rounder Grant Elliott was the top wicket-taker (4.3-0-26-3), but both the experienced Kyle Mills (10-2-29-2) and the former test specialist Trent Boult (9-0-25-2) impressed with their frugality.

New Zealand's response kicked off with an ironic round of applause for opener Martin Guptill for surviving his first ball, having fallen for a golden duck twice against Sri Lanka. Captain Brendon McCullum did his usual carve-'em-up attempt, which sometimes comes off but usually results in a quick-hit fizzer, as it did in this match (17 from 12). Guptill and Tom Latham soldiered on at a reasonable run-rate without dominating the attack, but once Ross Taylor and Grant Elliott came to the crease the match was truly won. In an undefeated if generally unexciting stand Taylor and Elliott put on 112 runs. Both scored fifties, with Elliott's being the quicker of the two (64no from 68), which saw New Zealand win the match by seven wickets even before 40 overs of the chase were completed. Elliott was later named man of the match, and the teams head on to Napier for the second and final match in a couple of days.

Mohammad Hafeez 0 (5) b. Mills

Keep your head up, Adam Milne!

Shahid Afridi 67 (29)

From the Stadium mezzanine lounge

Brendon McCullum 17 (12)

See also:
Cricket: 2nd T20I vs West Indies, 16 January 2014
Cricket: Wellington v Canterbury T20, 8 January 2012
Cricket: NZ at the 2011 Cricket World Cup, 30 March 2011
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