Henry Nicholls’ timely 82 steered New Zealand to a 70-run victory over Pakistan in the first one-day international at Wellington.
With the hosts struggling at 99 for six, Nicholls and Mitchell Santner helped restore New Zealand’s innings before a 73-run ninth-wicket partnership from Matt Henry and Mitchell McClenaghan allowed them to reach 280 from their 50 overs.
After beating Pakistan 2-1 in their Twenty20 international series, the Black Caps were put into bat and got off to a poor start as Pakistan’s seamers took three wickets for the addition of 70 runs.
Anwar Ali, who finished with 3-66, dismissed Kane Williamson and Elliott in the same over, but Nicholls, in just his sixth ODI, held firm, reaching his maiden half-century off 71 balls.
Pakistan fast bowler Mohammad Amir, featuring in his first ODI since returning from a match-fixing ban, finished with figures of 3-28 before Santner and Nicholls grafted the Black Caps from 99 for six to 178 for seven.
Santner fell two runs short of a half-century but blistering knocks from Henry and McClenaghan, with the latter hitting a 18-ball 31 before retiring hurt after an Anwar bouncer struck him in the left eye.
Henry also played his part, smacking 48 not out which featured four sixes as the hosts set a respectable target of 281.
Pakistan’s innings began slowly as Elliott dispatched openers Azhar Ali and Ahmed Shehzad to leave them 37 for two but Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam put on 81-run partnership to move the tourists to 118 for three.
But Corey Anderson and Williamson claimed the prized wickets of Azam and Hafeez and despite Safraz Ahmed‘s 30, Boult ripped through Pakistan’s lower order as they collapsed from 205 for six to 210 all out, handing the Black Caps a 1-0 lead in the three-match series.