Ross Taylor, who brought up his 42nd ODI half century, smashed five boundaries during his 112-ball 80. @ Getty Images
Ross Taylor, who brought up his 42nd ODI half century, smashed five boundaries during his 112-ball 80. @ Getty Images

Ross Taylor’s 80 and Tom Latham’s 68 powered New Zealand to 266/9 in the first of the three-match ODI series against Pakistan at Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Opting to bat, the BlackCaps lost openers George Worker and Colin Munro inside eight overs. Worker added just one to the total and departed after he was caught behind by Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed off left-arm pacer Shaheen Shah Afridi. Munro smashed five boundaries during his 27-ball 29 but was trapped leg before off Shadab Khan in the eighth over.

Kane Williamson didn’t stay for long after he picked up Mohammad Hafeez at short midwicket to give leg-spinner Shadab his second wicket. The Kiwi skipper departed for 27 off 38.

It took a 130-run partnership for the fourth wicket between the veteran Taylor and Latham to steer the tourists, who were reeling at 78/3 in the 17th over when Williamson departed. Latham was more aggressive in his 64-ball knock that was decorated with five hits to the fence.

New Zealand were looking at a 280-plus score, but Pakistan pegged things back in the 42nd over with Shadab Khan taking three wickets in four deliveries.

Latham was the first to go after he tried to flick it, but missed it completely and was out lbw. Henry Nicholls failed to read the next delivery which dipped a bit and caught him plumb leg before. Colin de Grandhomme avoided Shadab’s hat-trick, but followed Nicholls in the next delivery after Babar Azam picked up a low catch at first slip. New Zealand were 208/4 were Latham departed and slumped to 208/6 when Grandhoome walked.

The flurry of wickets continued in the next over with the departure of well-set batsman Taylor, who brought up his 42nd ODI half century. Imad Wasim floated it nicely outside off and drew Taylor, who missed it completely before clattering into the stumps.

Ish Sodhi and Tim Southee stemmed the flow of wickets and ensured New Zealand past the 250-run mark. Sodhi scored a valuable 19-ball 24, while Southee added 20, before both departed to Afridi, who picked up four wickets in his eight overs and went for 46 runs.

Shadab meanwhile, was the pick of the bowlers, with four for 38 in his 10 overs.

Brief scores: New Zealand 266/9 (Ross Taylor 80, Tom Latham 68; Shadab Khan 4/38, Shaheen Shah Afridi 4/46) versus Pakistan