Pakistan celebrated captain Babar Azam’s 100th T20I with a clinical 88-run win in the first match against New Zealand in Lahore on Friday.
Azam scored just nine runs but Fakhar Zaman and Saim Ayub made 47 each and put on a 79-run partnership for the third wicket to anchor Pakistan to 182 all out in 19.5 overs.
Fast bowler Haris Rauf, one of five players who returned after being rested in Pakistan’s last series against Afghanistan, took career-best figures of 4-18 as New Zealand were all out for 94 in 15.3 overs.
Left-arm spinner Imad Wasim finished with 2-2 in his only over – taking both his wickets off successive deliveries.
Mark Chapman top-scored with a 27-ball 34, including four fours and a six, while captain Tom Latham made a 24-ball 20.
Rauf’s previous best T20I figures of 4-22 had also come against New Zealand in Sharjah in 2021.
Earlier, Zaman and Ayub lifted Pakistan from a poor start after they won the toss and batted.
Pakistan lost both their openers – Mohammad Rizwan lbw for eight and then Azam bowled – to pace bowler Adam Milne by the fifth over.
Ayub lifted the tempo with two boundaries each off Milne and Ben Lister before he and Zaman hit a six each off spinner Ish Sodhi in the 10th over.
Zaman struck four fours and two sixes in his 34-ball knock while Ayub’s rapid 28-ball innings featured two sixes and six fours.
Ayub was run out while taking a second run before Zaman was caught at deep square-leg off Sodhi.
Faheem Ashraf hit a 16-ball 22 while Wasim scored 16 off 13 balls to help Pakistan add 47 runs in the last five overs.
New Zealand pace bowler Matt Henry took a hat-trick in his figures of 3-32.
Henry dismissed Shadab Khan (five) and Iftikhar Ahmed (nought) off the last two deliveries of his third over and then Shaheen Shah Afridi with the first of his fourth.
Shadab Khan ☝️
Iftikhar Ahmed ☝️
Shaheen Afridi ☝️
A hat-trick for Matt Henry in the first T20I at the GSL. #PAKvNZ | #CricketMubarak pic.twitter.com/h6bZP6O1hM
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) April 14, 2023
Lister had figures of 2-30 while Milne finished with 2-51.
The remaining four matches are in Lahore on 15 and 17 April and in Rawalpindi on 20 and 24 April.