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by John Pennington Monday 8 December 2014
Pakistan 250-7 (Haris Sohail 85no) beatNew Zealand 246-7 (Taylor 105no) by three wicketsFirst One-Day International, DubaiScorecard
Haris Sohail scored an unbeaten 85 in 109 balls to steer Pakistan to a three-wicket win over New Zealand in the first One-Day International in Dubai.
After Ross Taylor's century had helped New Zealand post 246 for seven, Sohail's effort, along with a quickfire 61 from Shahid Afridi rescued Pakistan, who had been reduced to 50 for four in reply.
With help from Wahab Riaz, who hit nine not out in six balls, Sohail guided Pakistan over the finish line with three balls to spare.
Ross Taylor's hat-trick of ODI tons
28th January 2014: 112* (127) v India, Hamilton
31st January 2014: 102 (106) v India, Wellington
8th December 2014: 105* (135) v Pakistan, Dubai
This win puts Pakistan 1-0 up in the five-match series.
Batting first, New Zealand were rocked by early blows by Mohammad Irfan (3-57) and Riaz (2-51) before Taylor's 105 not out revived their innings.
Although Tom Latham (13) and James Neesham (1) offered little support, enough came from Daniel Vettori (27) and Luke Ronchi (23) to ensure Taylor could reach three figures - for the third time in as many games - and set Pakistan a testing target.
Along with Irfan and Riaz, Afridi was the only other wicket-taker, returning one for 36.
With Mohammad Hafeez now banned from bowling, Sohail turned his arm over, returning nought for 39 in 10 overs but it was with the bat that he took the starring role.
Hafeez (6), Asad Shafiq (5) and Younus Khan (4) all fell cheaply as Pakistan slipped to 40 for three in the 13th over with Kyle Mills bowling Hafeez, Neesham having Shafiq caught by Anton Devcich and Younus falling to Vettori.
That brought Sohail to the crease and he began the rebuilding process alongside Ahmed Shehzad, who made 28 before he too fell to Vettori, trapped in front.
And when Misbah was caught by Vettori off Neesham for 13, Pakistan were in dire straits at 86 for five and their situation was little better at 124 for six when Sarfraz Ahmed departed having made 26 in 19 balls.
Up stepped Afridi to keep Pakistan on course and the all-rounder hit seven fours and a six with Sohail keeping things steady at the other end as the pair put on 110 for the seventh wicket.
Afridi was run out with the score on 234 but nothing was going to stop Sohail from finishing off the job, which he and Riaz managed despite a few nervy moments.
A timely boundary for Riaz in the penultimate over meant they needed three to win from the last over, and Sohail added the finishing touch by hitting Neesham to fine leg for four.
Mills (1-54), Neesham (2-62), Vettori (2-40) and Nathan McCullum (1-35) were New Zealand's wicket-takers.
© Cricket World 2014