Pakistan eased to a five-wicket victory over New Zealand in the first one-day international in Rawalpindi thanks to Fakhar Zaman’s ninth ODI century and Naseem Shah’s phenomenally economical bowling. They achieved their 500th ODI victory in the process, becoming the third team to do so; They reached the milestone in 949 games, making them the second-quickest team after Australia, which did so in 811 games. After a 124-run opening stand between Fakhar and Imam-ul-Haq, Pakistan never seriously threatened to lose despite being set 289 to win. They got over the line in the 49th over and took a 1-0 lead in the five-match series thanks to forty-nine runs from captain Babar Azam and a cameo appearance by wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan lower down the order.
New Zealand had reached 288 thanks to Daryl Mitchell’s second ODI hundred. The foundation for a score of over 300 had been laid by a century-and-a-half partnership with Will Young, whose own 86-ball knock came in just 78 balls. However, Pakistan’s precise death bowling and the visitors’ inability to score boundaries kept them in check. That was largely due to Naseem, who was at his metronomic peak at both the beginning and end of the innings. His figures of 2 for 29 in his ten overs ensured that New Zealand would not reach the 300-run mark they appeared to be on track for the majority of the innings.
Pakistan’s best performances in this format over the past four years were the model that was realized during the chase. The heft of the run-scoring was finished by Fakhar, Imam, and Babar; There is a reason why Pakistan has relied on their top three for runs more than any other team. While New Zealand’s openers had started steadily, Pakistan began energetically on a surface that presented little risk to the hitters.
Matt Henry and Adam Milne were milked and hit for boundaries occasionally, but when the 100 partnership came up in the 19th over, their truculence became more apparent. Fakhar siphoned Mitchell for a six back over his head while Imam did likewise to Ish Sodhi before long. Pakistan appeared to be on the right track by this point, as both men had reached half-centuries.
Sodhi struck the following ball after discovering a few holds and catching Imam in front, yet just prepared for one more lengthy organization, this time among Babar and Fakhar. Maybe those two would take the game directly the entire way to completion. The Pakistani skipper seemed at ease from the opening ball as Fakhar slowly advanced towards yet another ODI century. He punched the air before the customary sajda when he did arrive with a drive-through extra cover.
Shan Masood, on the other hand, was brought into the box by a missed shot from Babar from 50 yards out. After a little struggle, he was soon on his way back, missing the 12th ball to extra cover with just one run added, and New Zealand had the tiniest of openings once more.
However, Rizwan would skillfully stop it, hoping to end the game’s danger by counterattacking. This he did with a lot of success, and even when Fakhar went down for 117 at the other end, he made sure the home team didn’t get too wobbly. In the penultimate over, a smear over midwicket sealed the deal, giving Pakistan the victory they seemed to be worth throughout the game.
Pakistan had previously decided to bat New Zealand out on a hot day and a flat track. The bowlers got going keeping the openers on a chain, especially Naseem, who tracked down sideways development and an additional yard of speed, permitting only 12 runs in his six-over spell. However, the wicket came from a bowling change when Haris Rauf took the outside edge from Chad Bowes in his first over, completing a bowlers-only powerplay.
New Zealand, on the other hand, began to expand into the innings as the field grew. Young started to find his feet, particularly in opposition to the spin. After a 51-ball 50, he cleared Shadab for four and Agha Salman’s most memorable conveyance for a six. Mitchell quickly began to become an effective backup act as Pakistan continued to use spin to little effect. Youthful seemed to set out toward a blustery hundred as the organization crossed three figures and New Zealand sat pretty at 150 for one in a shade north of 26 overs.
Yet, Shadab struck as Youthful holed out in the quest for another limit, and however Mitchell was just settling in, New Zealand would never entirely stand up for themselves similarly once more. Momentum was sucked out of the game by Tom Latham’s struggles at the crease, where he made 20 of 36 shots before being lbw to a juicy full toss. Mitchell scored two boundaries against Shadab and four and six against Nawaz, but he received little support.
After Rauf removed Mark Chapman from the game, the innings never really progressed beyond the last 25 overs, when only three boundaries were hit by Mitchell. Mitchell raised a merited hundred with a lofty straight drive off Shaheen Afridi, however with the stingy Naseem at the opposite end, New Zealand’s run-scoring was turning out to be increasingly impecunious.
Naseem would get the wickets he so richly deserved right at the end, dismissing Adam Milne and Rachin Ravindra in the last two deliveries of the innings to leave New Zealand well short of 300. It turned out that they were also too weak to compete with Pakistan’s batsmen on this surface.
Pakistan defeated New Zealand by five wickets in the first one-day international in Rawalpindi, thanks to Fakhar Zaman’s century and Naseem Shah’s economical bowling. Pakistan achieved their 500th ODI victory in the process, becoming the third team to do so, and the second-quickest team after Australia. New Zealand’s innings were built around Daryl Mitchell’s century and Will Young’s half-century, but Pakistan’s precise death bowling restricted them to 288.
Pakistan’s chase was anchored by Fakhar, Imam, and Babar, with Mohammad Rizwan providing a late cameo to ensure a comfortable victory. The win was a reflection of Pakistan’s consistent performances in the format over the past four years, relying on their top-order batsmen for runs. Overall, it was a clinical performance by Pakistan, with their bowlers and batsmen complementing each other to outclass a competitive New Zealand side.