REUTERS - Grant Elliot’s all-round performance eclipsed Shahid Afridi’s 29-ball blitz to secure New Zealand a comfortable seven-wicket victory over Pakistan in the first One Day International in Wellington on Saturday.
Elliot took three wickets for 26 runs to help the hosts bowl out Pakistan for 210 in 45.3 overs at the Westpac Stadium.
He then returned to hit an unbeaten 64, adding 112-runs with Ross Taylor (59 not out) as New Zealand romped home with 10.3 overs to spare.
Earlier, Afridi blasted a 29-ball 67 and captain Misbah-ul-Haq stroked a patient 58 to help Pakistan overcome a terrible start and post 210.
Put in to bat, Pakistan lost their opener Mohammad Hafeez for a duck to the fifth delivery of the day and kept losing wickets to slump to 127 for six in the 36th over.
Kiwi pacemen Kyle Mills (2-29) and Trent Boult (2-25) stifled the visiting batsmen and struck at regular intervals to put Pakistan on the mat before Afridi went on the attack.
Dropped on 14 by rival captain Brendon McCullum, the flamboyant Pakistan all-rounder added 71 runs with Misbah in 6.2 overs to lend some respectability to the total.
Afridi blasted nine boundaries in his blistering knock to go with three sixes, the third bringing up his fifty before Adam Milne dismissed him in the 44th over.
Misbah, who was content playing second fiddle to Afridi, perished in the 42nd over trying to accelerate.
The Kiwis were off to a flying start with the first three overs yielding 31 runs before McCullum fell.
Tom Latham (23) could not convert the start he got either but Martin Guptill contributed 39 runs before the unseparated Elliot-Taylor partnership took the game away from Pakistan.
Elliot hit eight boundaries in his 68-ball knock, the last sealing the team’s victory.
Napier hosts the second and final ODI on Tuesday.
Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Patrick Johnston