By: Faheem Anwar Khan
RAWALPINDI: Pakistan defeated New Zealand by five wickets in the first ODI at Rawalpindi’s Pindi Cricket Stadium on Thursday, thanks to Fakhar Zaman’s century. Pakistan has now won 500 ODIs since their first ODI in 1973, also against New Zealand. Fakhar and Imam-ul-Haq’s opening partnership of 124 runs helped Pakistan chase down the target of 289 runs. Babar Azam and Fakhar then added 90 runs for the second wicket, with Fakhar scoring his ninth ODI century in the 35th over. The second ODI of the five-match series will be played at the same venue on April 29.
Babar missed out on his 25th half-century and got caught behind for 49 off 46 balls in the 36th over, while Milne picked up Shan Masood in the 38th over. Fakhar and Rizwan hit five boundaries and a six to bring the required run-rate back down. Fakhar hit 117 off 114 balls, but got out in the 43rd over. Mohammad Rizwan (42 not out off 34 balls) and Mohammad Nawaz (8 not out) took Pakistan home with nine balls to spare and five wickets in hand. New Zealand scored 288 for seven in their 50 overs, with Mitchell and Young scoring 102 runs for the second wicket. Mitchell brought up his second ODI century in the 42nd over, but Pakistan bowlers made a comeback in the death overs, giving away only 53 runs and taking four wickets.