New Zealand 280 for 8 (Nicholls 82, Santner 48, Henry 48, Amir 3-28, Anwar Ali 3-66) v Pakistan
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New Zealand’s 280 was built on Henry Nicholls’ measured 82 © Getty Images
Pakistan’s pace quartet blasted New Zealand’s top order out, reducing them to 99 for 6 within 23 overs, but the hosts bided some time, then blasted right back in the final ten overs. Their eventual total on a fast Basin Reserve pitch, was founded on Henry Nicholls’ measured 82, consolidated by Mitchell Santner’s 48, and sent hurtling to competitiveness by Matt Henry and Mitchell McClenaghan’s rollicking 73-run ninth-wicket stand, which came off 33 balls and featured six sixes and as many fours.
Each of Pakistan’s quicks had played his role in the early surge. Mohammad Irfan made the initial incision, and Mohammad Amir followed it up. Anwar Ali made a double-blow to the middle order, and Wahab, while wicketless, occasionally rattled the batsmen with pace. Amir and Anwar claimed three scalps apiece, but it was the pace that eventually traveled as well. Wahab and Anwar conceded more than a run a ball from their ten overs.
Azhar Ali had reserved two Amir overs for the close, but the bowler hobbled off the field after delivering the first ball of the 47th over, clutching his right calf. New Zealand had a worrying injury of their own. McClenaghan dropped to the ground when an Anwar bouncer burst through the gap in his helmet in the final over. He stood up after those nervous moments on the ground, but left the field with substantial swelling in the area around his right eye.
Nicholls was dropped once early in his innings, but seemed a clever operator otherwise, finding square boundaries early, then settling into a steady beat of singles and twos. He held firm through the hosts’ many stutters, and only fell searching for quick runs in the 45th over, having struck seven fours in his innings.
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Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo’s Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando
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Source: ESPN Crickinfo