Debutant Jacob Duffy's four wickets were followed up by handy knocks from Tim Seifert (57) and Mark Chapman (34) as New Zealand defeated Pakistan by five wickets in the first T20I in Auckland at Eden Park on Friday.
Chasing a moderate target of 154, Martin Guptill and Tim Seifert opened the scoring for the Kiwis and pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi got the early breakthrough as he dismissed Guptill (6) in the third over.
Devon Conway came in to bat at number three and could only stitch a 13-run partnership with Seifert for the second wicket. Conway (5) became a victim of Haris Rauf in the fourth over.
Glenn Phillips then joined Seifert in the middle and stitched a solid 44-run partnership off 34 balls for the third wicket. The duo played freely and scored some quick runs, but Rauf struck to remove Phillips for 23.
Another quick 45-run partnership between Mark Chapman and Seifert then put the hosts in the driving seat and almost confirmed their victory. Afridi picked Seifert in the 15th over and reduced New Zealand to 4/110.
With 44 runs to win, James Neesham and Chapman built a 19-run stand before the latter departed in the 17th over. Chapman walked away after scoring 34 crucial runs off 20 balls studded with four boundaries and a six.Skipper Mitchell Santner and Neesham then put on an unbeaten 27-run stand to put their side over the line with seven balls remaining. Neesham scored 15* off 10 while Santer hit an unbeaten 12.
For Pakistan, Rauf clinched three wickets while Afridi grabbed two scalps.
Earlier, Duffy bagged four wickets and dismantled Pakistan's top-order but skipper Shadab Khan's 42-run knock and Faheem Ashraf's late onslaught guided them to a respectable 153/9 in 20 overs.
Duffy returned with the figures of 4-33 in his four overs while Scott Kuggeleijn claimed three wickets.
Pakistan's top-order failed to get going as they lost four early wickets. Barring Mohammad Rizwan (17), no other batsmen in top-four reached the double-figure mark as Abdullah Shafique (0), Mohammad Hafeez (0) and Haider Ali (3) were dismissed cheaply.
Shadab got support from Khusdil Shah and added 19 for the fifth wicket. Spinner Ish Sodhi sent Shah (16) back to the pavilion in the ninth over, just when things looked to be going in the visiting team's favour.
Imad Wasim and Shadab then stitched a 40-run partnership for the sixth wicket. Kuggeleijn removed the former in the 14th over. Faheem Ashraf's late onslaught helped the side go past the 150-run mark after Shadab departed in the 18th over. Shadab amassed 42 off 32 balls studded with three sixes and two fours. Ashraf's 31 off 18 included three sixes.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 153/9 (Shadab Khan 42, Faheem Ashraf 31; Duffy 4/33); New Zealand 156/5 (Seifert 57, Chapman 34; Rauf 3/29)