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In a riveting encounter at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand showcased a clinical performance to secure an early lead against Pakistan in the five-match T20I series.

Despite a valiant and brave knock from former Pakistan captain Babar Azam, New Zealand handed Pakistan a 46-run defeat in the series’ opening match at Eden Park in Auckland. The match also marked the beginning of Shaheen Afridi‘s tenure as the newly appointed T20I captain, but unfortunately, it started with a loss, emphasizing the challenges that lie ahead for Pakistan in the series.

Devon Conway’s early departure and explosive start from Finn Allen

New Zealand, after being put in to bat first, displayed an exceptional batting performance, amassing 226 for the loss of eight wickets against Pakistan. The innings witnessed a dynamic start with Finn Allen aggressively taking on Shaheen, plundering 24 runs off his second over. Despite the early dismissal of Devon Conway for a duck, the onslaught continued as Abbas Afridi, on his international debut, provided a brief respite by dismissing Allen, who had already scored a quick 35 runs off 15 balls.

New Zealand’s batting blitz

Skipper Kane Williamson, making a return, contributed significantly with a composed 57 runs off 42 balls, featuring nine boundaries. However, it was Daryl Mitchell who inflicted the most damage, showcasing an array of shots to accumulate 61 runs off 27 balls before falling victim to Shaheen. Glenn Phillips and Mark Chapman added valuable runs towards the end, ensuring New Zealand finished with a formidable total. Even though Shaheen picked three-wicket, he conceded 46 runs in the process, highlighting the bowling challenges faced by the visitors.

Also WATCH: Drama unfolds at Eden Park as no-ball eclipses Aamer Jamal’s fiery celebration on Finn Allen’s dismissal

Babar Azam’s gritty fifty falls short in Pakistan’s chase

Despite a scintillating start by Saim Ayub, who displayed remarkable strokeplay to score 27 runs off just 8 balls, Pakistan found themselves unable to convert the early momentum into a successful chase. Babar had a cautious beginning to his innings, scoring 10 runs off the first 12 balls. However, he swiftly shifted gears, reaching his half-century off 33 balls.

As the required run rate escalated, Babar aimed to accelerate further but unfortunately perished in the pursuit of quick runs. Babar emerged as the top-scorer for Pakistan, contributing 57 runs off 35 balls. Despite his commendable efforts, the Men in green fell short in their quest to chase down the imposing target set by the Black Caps.

Tim Southee’s milestone performance: The architect of Pakistan’s downfall

In a spectacular bowling display, Tim Southee proved his mettle by finishing with remarkable figures of 4-0-25-4 against Pakistan in the first T20I. Notably, this outstanding performance also marked a significant milestone for Southee, making him the first bowler to reach the landmark of 150 wickets in T20 Internationals.

His impeccable bowling, combined with contributions from Adam Milne and Ben Sears, who secured two scalps each, played a pivotal role in restricting Pakistan during their challenging chase. The second T20I is scheduled to take place on Sunday, January 14 at the Seddon Park in Hamilton.

Here’s how Twitter reacted:

Also READ: Netizens brutally troll Pakistan after sloppy fielding against New Zealand during 1st T20I in Auckland’s Eden Park


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