PAK vs NZ | Twitter lauds Pakistan's triumphant ODI return as Naseem Shah and Mohammad Rizwan help sweep past Kiwis by six wickets

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After an atrocious home Test season where the team went winless, Pakistan roared back to form in style in the shorter format of the game with a clinical victory. Naseem Shah helped restrict the Kiwis with a five-for before fifties from Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan took the hosts across the line.

Pakistan emerged triumphant in a closely fought affair at the Karachi National Stadium on Monday as they held their nerves to eventually cruise to the target of 256 with six wickets and XX balls to spare. The Men in Green were largely clinical with the bat and the ball but in New Zealand, they met stern competition, as the Kiwis pushed till the end to force a result in their favour albeit without much success. With this win, Pakistan have now taken a 1-0 lead in the three-match series as they now prepare to play the second ODI at the same stadium on Wednesday.

The host skipper Babar Azam won the toss and opted to bowl first, a choice that instantly reaped rewards as Naseem Shah struck out Devon Conway for a golden duck in the first over of the game. Finn Allen tried to stabilize the innings along with skipper Kane Williamson but in an attempt to accelerate fell for 29 in the eighth over, leaving the team reeling on 37/2. Debutant Usama Mir got rid of the opposition skipper soon after with a peach and even Tom Latham's 42(52) was not enough to keep the team from going down to 147/5. The lower end provided the team with some hope with a few quick cameos but Naseem Shah's last spell of six overs brought him four wickets to help him register his second five-wicket haul in just his fourth ODI, as the Black Caps ended on 255/9.

In response, New Zealand struck early by sending Imam ul Haq back to the pavilion for just 11 but thereon continued to toil for the rest of the innings. Even though the visitors kept amping up the required run rate gradually, Pakistan never let it go much beyond six courtesy of handsome half-centuries from Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman. The former was eventually cleaned up for 56(74) by Michael Bracewell, the only Black Cap to manage two wickets, as the incoming Mohammad Rizwan only piled on the misery with a fifty of his own. When the skipper was finally stumped in the 37th over for a well-made 62, the Men in Green needed just 88 runs off 81 balls and the stage was set for a rapid cameo of 32 from the returning Haris Sohail, taking just 23 balls in the process. Rizwan himself increased the scoring rate as he battled through vicious cramps, remaining not out at the end on 77(86) to guide his team to a statement-making win. 

First win of the year

Won by 6 wickets

Best keeper

Well played

Dominant performance

Winning shot

Played well

Great win!

Just as expected

Keep it up!

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