Pakistan eleven had arrived on a nine-match winning streak but fresh from playing in more accommodating conditions than the 120 kilometers per hour (75 mph) winds and rain that greeted them in Wellington.
Pakistan now looks to return to winning ways when they take on hosts New Zealand in the second game of the five-match series in Nelson on Tuesday (January 9).
That Pakistan warmed-up for this series with a comprehensive 120-run victory at the same venue would inspire confidence in the side that suffered a top-order disintegration on Saturday and eventually succumbed to 61 runs defeat(on DLS) in the rain-hit encounter.
New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson scored a century and seamer Tim Southee bagged three wickets at Basin Reserve as New Zealand ended Pakistan’s nine-match winning run in the 50-over format.
Fakhar Zaman lost for the first time in ODIs, having made his debut at the start of Pakistan’s stretch of victories, but did impress with an unbeaten 82 at the top of the order in Wellington.
The sight of all other batsmen crumbling against the relentless attack of New Zealand’s new-ball bowlers Tim Southee and Trent Boult was concerning. The pair shared five of the six wickets between them, reducing the visitors to 54 for 5 at one stage before a brief fightback came through.
Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed pinpointed tough condition as well as losing both Azhar Ali and Babar Azam in the opening over as the prime reasons for his team’s abysmal showing in the opening ODI defeat to New Zealand on Saturday — excuses that didn’t sit well with legendary batsman Zaheer Abbas.
Pakistan would have been banking on their bowlers, but they were off color in Wellington, with Mohammad Amir and Rumman Raees conceding 57 and 68 runs respectively. Hasan Ali did manage to take three wickets but leaked too many runs, and the fearsome pace unit was comfortably outdone by New Zealand’s fast bowlers. While Pakistan will also look for their senior batsmen to stand up, supporting the younger lot is important, too. Fakhar Zaman was their only plus in a dispiriting first game, while Faheem Ashraf looked sharp in his little cameo before rain put paid to the game. The bowlers, meanwhile, need to shake off the rust to carry their weight.
Pakistan’s spinners could come into the game more in Nelson, with the pitch likely to play slower than the one at Basin Reserve.
The second one-day will start at 03.00 am Pakistan Standard Time (PST).
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Todd Astle, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
Pakistan: Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c, wk), Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees.