Pakistan have taken first blood in the two match Twenty20 series at Dubai Sports City Stadium, Dubai.
The 49 run win was set up by a blistering Imran Nazir half century and an outstanding bowling display from the Pakistani attack.
The injury-ravaged BLACKCAPS barely managed to field a team with Daniel Vettori suffering the effects of concussion after taking a blow to the head in the second One-Day International. Strike bowler Kyle Mills was out with a shoulder injury, while James Franklin - nursing a back injury - was twelfth man. Key all-rounder Jacob Oram was also unavailable after returning to New Zealand for the birth of his first child.
This meant Brendon McCullum would captain the side and hand BJ Watling his first cap for the BLACKCAPS. Watling was also given the keeping duties with Nathan McCullum and Ian Butler brought back into the team.
McCullum opted to bowl first and Shane Bond was on target early bowling a maiden first up but it was Tim Southee who got the early breakthrough having Kamran Akmal caught at mid-on for 13.
When Bond was removed from the attack the Pakistan batsmen took to Ian Butler, smashing his first two deliveries for six with this two over spell going for 28 runs.
Scott Styris struck in his first over, deceiving Umar Akmal with a slower ball but this brought the dangerous Shahid Alfridi to the crease.
The Pakistani captain and Imran Nazir then cut loose hitting Nathan McCullum and Syris for a series of boundaries taking the total past 100 with only 12 overs bowled.
With a wicket desperately need, Bond was brought back into the attack and did the job, having Nazir caught at third man for 58.
McCullum then took a gamble on part-time bowler Aaron Redmond who managed to sneer the important wicket of Alfridi for 24. All credit for the dismissal goes to Southee who took a stunning low catch at long off.
Redmond struck again in his next over, catching Shoaib Malik off his own bowling for 6 - reducing Pakistan to 116 for five after 15 overs.
It was one over too many for Redmond who went for 9 runs off five balls before suffering a groin injury and leaving the ground for treatment.
The return of Bond brought another wicket as he finished his spell with the impressive figures of two for 17.
The last two overs yielded 25 to take Pakistan through to 161.
Southee was rewarded with two late wickets to finish with figures of three for 28 and picked up the Bowler of the Match award for his efforts.
Openers McCullum and Martin Guptill got off to a quick start in reply, putting on 25 in 11 balls before Guptill was caught behind for 8.
McCullum was next to go slashing one straight to backward point after hitting 19 off 13.
Taylor didn’t stick around, getting nicked out for five and when Styris was caught on the boundary for four the BLACKCAPS were battling at 41 for four.
Debutant BJ Watling and Neil Broom took the score through to 67 but with the run rate climbing they needed to accelerate the scoring. This brought about the demise of Broom who tried to clear the rope but only managed to guide it down the throat of third man for 14.
Watling contributed 22 before being stumped with Butler bowled for one and then McCullum caught in the deep for 22.
Southee was the last man out for 6 with Redmond unable to bat.
It was a real team effort with the ball by Pakistan with Abdul Razzak taking two for 9, Saeed Ajaml two for 18, Shahid Afridi two for 21 and Mohammad Aamer two for 21.
When asked about the next match McCullum said, “Yeah we are up for it. I’m sure we will bounce back strongly for tomorrow’s game.
There is a dressing room full of players keen to turn it around for the next one.”
The two teams play another Twenty20 on Friday 13th November at 8:00pm (local time), 5:00am +1d (NZ time).