Dubai, United Arab Emirates:World Twenty20 champion Pakistan bounced back from losing the one-day internationals series by thrashing New Zealand by 49 runs in a Twenty20 at Dubai Sports City Stadium on Thursday.
Pakistan rode a brilliant 38-ball 58 by opener Imran Nazir to post a healthy 161-8. In reply, the Kiwis were bowled out for 112 with nine balls to spare.
"There was pressure on us because we lost the last two ODIs," captain Shahid Afridi said. "We badly wanted to win this match and I am delighted with the team effort.
"When we started, 150 was the target I had in my mind. Of course, when we were more than 100 runs in 12 overs, I thought anything close to 200 was possible. But we would have been happy with 150 because of the quality of the bowling attack we have."
New Zealand was without skipper Daniel Vettori, who opted to rest after leading his team to a 2-1 win in the ODIs in Abu Dhabi. Vettori was hit on his helmet during the second match, and was expected to undergo a precautionary scan after vomiting a few times after that.
In Vettori's absence, Brendon McCullum won the toss and elected to field. Paceman Shane Bond started by hitting Nazir in the ribs with his first ball and finished with an uncommon maiden.
But Pakistan cut loose at the introduction of Ian Butler, who was welcomed with two towering sixes of his first two balls by Nazir, and went for 27 runs from his first two overs.
Nazir was finally dismissed in the 12th over by Bond in his second spell. Nazir smashed four sixes and five fours.
Afridi (24) and Abdul Razzaq (26 not out) hit some lusty blows to take Pakistan past 150.
New Zealand's reply started well with 29 runs off the first two overs. But once the left-arm seam combination of Mohammad Aamer and Sohail Tanvir removed openers Martin Guptill (8) and Brendon McCullum (19), New Zealand collapsed.
The Kiwis also lost the services of Aaron Redmond, who pulled his groin muscle while bowling and did not bat.
McCullum promised to fight back in the second and last Twenty20 on Friday.
"In the end, 160 was a good total, but I thought if we bowled a bit better, 130 or 140 would have been ideal for us to chase," said McCullum said.
"We will bounce back tomorrow. Obviously, we are a depleted side, but it does give chances to others."