New Zealand vs Pakistan 1st ODI: All-round Elliott flattens Pakistan

Elliott (right) was named Man of the Match for excelling with both the bat and ball

Elliott (right) was named Man of the Match for excelling with both the bat and ball

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

New Zealand all-rounder Grant Elliott scored an unbeaten 64 and took three wickets to help the Blackcaps flatten Pakistan by seven wickets in the first ODI in Wellington.

Elliott was well supported by batsman Ross Taylor, who made 59.

However, Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi and captain Misbah-ul-Haq deserve some credit as they scored 67 and 58 respectively.

New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum would have been pleased with his decision to bowl first after Pakistan lost their top three batsmen with only 32 runs on the board.

Ul-Haq and Haris Sohail stemmed the bleeding with a 49-run partnership before Sohail was caught by Martin Guptill at point off the bowling of Corey Anderson for 23.

Umar Akmal only made 13 runs before he was clean bowled by Elliott.

Sarfraz Ahmed mustered five runs before he was caught by Tom Latham at deep square leg off the bowling of Anderson.

Ul-Haq and Afridi stabilised the innings with a 71-run partnership, during which Afridi brought up his half-century, before ul-Haq was caught by Latham at deep midwicket off the bowling of Elliott.

Ul-Haq’s solid knock of 58 came off 87 balls and included four boundaries and two sixes.

Ul-Haq scored a valiant 58

Ul-Haq scored a valiant 58

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Bilawal Bhatti failed to trouble the scorers as he was caught by Guptill at backward point off the bowling of Trent Boult for a duck.

Afridi ended up making 67 off 29 deliveries, which included nine boundaries and three sixes, before he was caught by Guptill at long-on off the bowling of Adam Milne.

Afridi made an entertaining 67

Afridi made an entertaining 67

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Pakistan were bowled out for 210 when Ehsan Adil was caught by Brendon McCullum at mid-on off the bowling of Elliott for six runs.

Elliott was the pick of the bowlers with three wickets, while Anderson, Boult and Kyle Mills snapped up two wickets apiece and Milne chipped in with one.

Chasing 211 to win, New Zealand got off to an awful start as Brendon McCullum, Latham and Guptill were all dismissed at regular intervals.

Elliott and Taylor finished things off for New Zealand when they amassed an unbeaten 112-run partnership, during which both batsmen registered their half-centuries.

Elliott scored 64 off 68 balls, which included eight boundaries, while Taylor remained undefeated on 59 off 81 deliveries, which included four boundaries.

Taylor hit four boundaries  during his unbeaten knock of 59

Taylor hit four boundaries during his unbeaten knock of 59

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Afridi, Bhatti and Mohammad Irfan claimed one wicket each.

Ul-Haq was gutted to have lost the match, and said: “We lost wickets and in first 10 overs we were nowhere, had no momentum and they bowled really well. We were 70-80 runs short and 280-290 would have been a good score. Really pleased to see Shahid Afridi bat well, he’s bowling too. I’m getting better in the practice games, scored some runs and it was difficult to come after two months but I have scored runs. When you defend this sort of total, you have to try to take wickets but sometimes you give away runs.”

McCullum was ecstatic to have taken a 1-0 lead in the series, and said: “Pretty professional bowling and the fielding was outstanding, probably the best this summer, the intensity was good. The seamers were able to swing the ball today and it’s nice when you get the rewards. Guppi has been playing really nicely, especially in the nets, doesn’t look like he’s [long] away from a big score. Taylor always finds ways to score runs and it was a well-thought out partnership.”

Elliott was named Man of the Match, and said: “Trent, Millsy and Milne were outstanding at the top and I was lucky enough to get a couple of wickets. Never experienced anything like that (Irfan’s bowling), he’s an outstanding bowler. It’s an outstanding environment to be involved in.”

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