Pakistan will be sick of the sight of New Zealand. Having succumbed to a 5-0 whitewash in the preceding ODI series, the tourists were comprehensively beaten in the first T20I in Wellington, with Tim Southee and Colin Munro the star performers for the Black Caps.
The manner of defeat could have been even worse. Having been put into bat on a pitch offering plenty for the seamers, some skilful bowling and poorly judged batting saw Pakistan slump to 38/6 and then 53/7. Tim Southee, deputising as captain for the injured Kane Williamson, and Seth Rance, playing just his third T20I, did the early damage, finishing with 3/13 and 3/26 respectively.
Colin Munro's fine form in 2018 continues, as his contributions with both bat and ball win him the Player of the Match award for the 1st #NZvPAK T20I.— ICC (@ICC) January 22, 2018
SCORECARD: https://t.co/mFZt40KBqW pic.twitter.com/nrKrYA1Lc1
Had it not been for a spirited run-a-ball 41 from Babar Azam and some lusty blows from No.9 Hasan Ali (23 from 12), Pakistan were heading for their lowest-ever total in the format, when they scored 74 against Australia in 2012. Mitchell Santner was typically economical with his left-arm spin, taking 2/15 from his four overs and refusing to give Pakistan any respite.
The visitors eventually crawled to 105 all out, Rance taking the final wicket from the fourth delivery of the final over.
In reply, the early wickets of Martin Guptill and Glenn Phillips, both to Rumman Raees, with just eight runs on the board gave Pakistan a glimmer of hope. However, a partnership of 49 between Munro (49*) and Tom Bruce (26) put the Kiwis back in cruise control.
Bruce fell to the leg-spinner Shadab Khan with 49 runs still required, but Munro and Ross Taylor (22* from 13) ensured there were no further alarms, as New Zealand chased down their total with 25 deliveries to spare.
For Munro it was further evidence of his sensational form in the format. Before this match the left-hander, who is currently ranked at No.1 in the ICC T20I batting rankings, had struck three centuries in his last nine T20I innings, and he would have fancied his chances of registering a fourth if Pakistan had given New Zealand a tougher chase.
This victory was the Black Caps' 13th in a row in completed matches across all formats and they will be favourites to extend that run when the two sides meet again in Auckland on Thursday.