The Pakistan side didn't begin their tour of New Zealand on a positive note as they went down to Auckland by 5 wickets with 40 balls to spare in a practice Twenty20 match. Michael Bates was the destroyer-in-chief for the home side, taking 4 wickets for just 11 runs off his three overs.
Batting first, Pakistan got off to a disastrous start with the top order of Mohammad Hafeez (4), Shahid Afridi (1) and Ahmed Shehzad (0), crumbling to the pace and bounce of fast bowler Michael Bates. The tourists were in quite some bother at 7/3 in 2.3 overs.
Younis Khan an Umar Akmal tried to salvage the situation as best they could, with the former even smashing a six. But with the score at 46\5 in the 8th over, Younis was foxed by slow left arm Roneel Hira for 18 off 29. The visitors were further pegged back when new batsmen Fawad Alam was run out for a duck with the scoreboard reading 47/5.
Just five runs later, Hira outwitted Umar Akmal to clean bowl the batsmen for 25 off 30 in the 10th over. Abdul Razzak and Umar Gul tried to revive the innings with a 31-run partnership, but when Razzaq went, at 83/7, the tail caved in pretty quickly. Pakistan were all out for 90 in 17.4 overs.
Auckland had a much steadier start to their innings, with the openers Colin de Grandhomme and Martin Guptill putting on a quickfire 28 in 2.4 overs before fast bowler Shoaib Akhtar had Grandhomme caught by Ahmed Shehzad. After a little resistance, Lou Vincent was out bowled to the same bowler for 7 while off-spinner Saeed Ajmal got Anaru Kitchen three runs later, making the score 46/3 in 5.4 overs.
Seamer Wahan Riaz tried to get his side back in the game by sending back Gareth Hopkins for 8, but Gupill stood his ground admirably and though Ajmal returned to remove Colin Munro for 5, the match was out of Pakistan's grasp. Gutill and Dusan Hakaria took New Zealand from 68/5 to the winning score of 91, reaching the target at the start of the 134th over.
Pakistan has been felled by a second rate domestic side an will certainly have to get their act together before they take on New Zealand in the first of three Twenty20 matches, beginning Dec 26. The visitors batting has been an area of concern in the recent past with too many batters performing erratically. Ultimately, the pressure falls squarely on the bowlers who don't have decent scores to defend.