Williamson rues loss of pressure on batsmen

New Zealand

New Zealand stand-in captain Kane Williamson rued his side's inability to maintain pressure on Pakistan's batsmen in the first ODI in Dubai, with the middle order being allowed to rescue the hosts.

Pakistan were chasing 247 to win, and New Zealand's bowlers removed the top order cheaply, but then half centuries from Haris Sohail and Shahid Afridi, as well as a cameo by Sarfraz Ahmed, saw Pakistan to a three-wicket win.

Williamson said, having had Pakistan five down for 86: "I think when Sarfraz came out, his partnership with Sohail, and also Afridi's knock really took the momentum away. We were defending it well.

"The run rate was going up, sometimes it's hard to manufacture wickets on these surfaces you need to build up the pressure and we weren't able to do that so I believe, the game was taken away by some very good batting."

The Black Caps' top order was similarly poor and needed rescuing, this time by Ross Taylor. The veteran batsman scored a third ODI century in a row, taking the side from 111 for five to 246, but it went in vain.

The young skipper, still full of praise, added: "He's a world-class performer. He's shown that every time he comes on to the park and he's really enjoying his cricket which is great for us.

"It was an amazing knock, the ebb and flow of momentum he went through within his own innings, to come out the back and play a knock like that was fantastic."

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