Kopar Khairane

First ODI: Ton-up Pakistan defeats New Zealand by five wickets under Fakhar Zaman's leadership

In the first one-day international, played on Thursday in Rawalpindi, Pakistan defeated New Zealand by five wickets thanks in large part to the outstanding century by opener Fakhar Zaman.

Pakistan knocked down a target of 289 in 48.3 overs thanks to the left-hander's 117 struck off 114 balls—his eleventh ODI hundred—which included 13 boundaries and a six.

With the win, Pakistan now leads the five-match series 1-0.

In addition to Will Young's 86, all-rounder Daryl Mitchell also reached a century, striking a stunning 113 off 115 balls to help New Zealand reach a difficult total of 288-7 in their 50 overs.

For the host side, Zaman was instrumental in getting Pakistan within 34 runs of victory when he was ultimately caught off a bad shot.

On a flat Pindi stadium surface, Imam-ul-Haq (60 off 65 balls) and Zaman added 124 for the first wicket by the 22nd over, thwarting New Zealand's assault.

After spinner Ish Sodhi caught Haq leg-before for his 15th ODI fifty, which included five boundaries and a six, Pakistan was able to draw closer to their objective thanks to a 90-run partnership between Zaman and captain Babar Azam.

Azam missed a half-century when he edged bowler Adam Milne to Tom Latham from behind the stumps. Off 46 balls, he smashed three fours and a six.

When Shan Masood was knocked out in a dismal 12-ball one and Agha Salman was knocked out for seven, Pakistan stumbled, but Mohammad Rizwan made sure the chance wasn't lost by scoring the winning boundary during his 34-ball 42 not out.

In 949 ODIs, this was Pakistan's 500th triumph.

We wanted to start strong, therefore this was a collective effort, added Azam. “The fast bowlers deserve credit for how we ultimately restricted them, and Fakhar then played a solid match-winning knock.”

Latham, the captain of New Zealand, lamented his team's failure to make an early breakthrough.

Latham said, “I believe the score we received was around par. “Daryl played a superb innings, but when Pakistan batted, we couldn't make headway.”

Prior to that, Mitchell scored the best ODI total of his career to lead New Zealand's innings when they were sent to bat.

With opener Young, who played a solid 78-ball knock, Mitchell, who struck 11 fours and a six, contributed 102 runs for the second wicket.

In the 47th over, Mitchell was eventually bowled out to deep mid-wicket by fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, breaking his previous record of 100 runs unbeaten against Bangladesh in 2021.

Before being caught at long-off by the spinner Shadab Khan, Young had smashed eight boundaries and two sixes.

After being dropped by Salman off his own bowling at the age of 23, Mitchell later helped New Zealand's batting effort with a strong 72-run partnership with Latham.

But the visitors only managed 66 in the last 10 overs due to some tight bowling.

After scoring 15, Mark Chapman was bowled by bowler Haris Rauf in the previous five-match Twenty20 series for New Zealand, which finished 2-2.

Naseem Shah, Shaheen, and Rauf each had numbers of 2-29 for Pakistan.

The remaining games will be played on Saturday in Rawalpindi and on May 3, 5, and 7 in Karachi.

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