Pakistan thump New Zealand in Babar's 100th T20I
Pakistan celebrated skipper Babar Azam's 100th international match in the shortest format with a clinical 88-run win in the first Twenty20 against New Zealand in Lahore on Friday.
Azam failed with just nine runs but Fakhar Zaman and Saim Ayub scored 47 runs each and put on a 79-run partnership for the third wicket to anchor Pakistan to 182 all out in 19.5 overs.
Fast bowler Haris Rauf, one of five players who returned after being rested in Pakistan's last series against Afghanistan, took career best figures of 4-18 as New Zealand were 94 all out in 15.3 overs.
Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim finished with 2-2 in his only over -- taking both his wickets off successive deliveries.
Mark Chapman top-scored with 27-ball 34 inclusive of four boundaries and a six while skipper Tom Latham made 24-ball 20.
Rauf's previous best T20 figures of 4-22 had also come against New Zealand in Sharjah in 2021.
Azam praised his bowling unit.
"The pitch was assisting the bowlers so it was a good batting performance to get that total and then our complete bowling unit was excellent," said Azam, happy at reaching a personal landmark.
"I had never expected this. I still remember the journey of starting off here as a ball-boy on the side-lines, and to now be here, it is a huge honour," said Azam of serving as a ball-boy during the 2007 series against South Africa.
Latham said his team did not adapted to the different conditions.
"We did not quite adapt to the conditions early enough," said Latham whose team are missing top eight players due to Indian Premier League.
"On that surface, the score was slightly above-par. We did not build partnerships with the bat."
Earlier, Zaman and Ayub lifted Pakistan from a poor start after they won the toss and batted.
Pakistan lost both their openers -- Mohammad Rizwan leg-before for eight and then Azam bowled -- to pacer Adam Milne by the fifth over for just 30.
Ayub lifted the tempo with two boundaries each off Milne and Ben Lister before he and Zaman hit a six each off spinner Ish Sodhi in the tenth over.
Zaman struck four boundaries and two sixes in his 34-ball knock while Ayub's rapid 28-ball innings featured two sixes and six fours.
Ayub was run out while taking a second run before Zaman was caught at deep square-leg off Sodhi.
Faheem Ashraf hit a 16-ball 22 while Wasim scored 16 off 13 balls to help Pakistan add 47 runs in the last five overs.
New Zealand pacer Matt Henry took a hat trick in his figures of 3-32.
Henry dismissed Shadab Khan (five) and Iftikhar Ahmed (nought) off the last two deliveries of his third over and then Shaheen Shah Afridi with the first of his fourth.
Lister had figures of 2-30 while Milne finished with 2-51.
The remaining four matches are in Lahore on April 15 and April 17 and Rawalpindi on April 20 and 24.