LAHORE - Pakistan's tour of New Zealand got off to the dismal start as Auckland defeated them by five wickets in a one-sided Twenty20 match at Colin Maiden Park in Auckland on Thursday.
Pakistan were undone by Auckland left-armer Michael Bates who claimed three wickets in his first two overs to reduce the tourists to seven for three. They never recovered and were skittled for 91 in the 18th over. Bates got four for 11 in three overs while left-arm spinner Roneel Hira claimed two for 21 from four overs.
Umar Akmal top-scored with 25 from 29 balls in a disappointing Pakistan innings which contained just five fours and one six. Auckland, the leading team in the domestic competition, lost five wickets in the chase but were always in control. Colin de Grandhomme hammered a quickfire 20 at the top of the order while Martin Guptill anchored the innings with an unbeaten 28 from 30 balls as Auckland reached the target in the 14th over.
There were some positive signs for two of Pakistan's key bowlers as speedster Shoaib Akhtar and off-spinner Saeed Ajmal claimed two wickets each in worthy four-over spells of two for 31 and two for 20, respectively, but the visitors will need to address their discipline after conceding 17 extras. Pakistan's next match is the first of three Twenty20 internationals against New Zealand, at Auckland on Sunday.
Auckland opener Colin de Grandhomme was in a hurry to knock off the required runs and raced to 20 off 12 before he was caught at gully by Shehzad off Shoaib Akhtar. Martin Guptill. Shoaib managed another wicket, bowling Lou Vincent, but was expensive, going at 7.75 in his four overs. Saeed Ajmal did a good job of drying up the runs, giving away 20 in his four overs, and picked up the wickets of Anaru Kitchen and Colin Munro.
Gareth Hopkins, who was dropped from New Zealand's squad for the Twenty20 and Test series against Pakistan, made only 8 before falling to Wahab Riaz. But Auckland were always comfortable, and reached their target with plenty of overs to spare. Pakistan will have to overcome their problem with extras in coming match.