The first ODI between Pakistan and New Zealand at Abu Dhabi was a very interesting affair. After the hosts had clean-sweeped the three-match T20I series, the onus was on the visitors to put on a better show. And so they did!
The fixture on Wednesday had it all. From some great bowling to brilliant batting to a hat-trick, fans and supporters were treated with a brilliant game. But in the middle of this, one piece of controversy took place.
In the first innings, when New Zealand were batting, Pakistan decided to hand the ball to Mohammad Hafeez. The veteran all-rounder has been subject to scrutiny from the past number of years for his bowling action, hence, all eyes were on him.
While for most, Hafeez's bowling action seemed fine, it wasn't the same for Ross Taylor. The New Zealand batsman was least pleased with the action of Hafeez, and after facing one of his delivery, indicated that the bowler is not bowling in proper manner. It was then followed by Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed putting his point in front of the umpires. He looked least impressed with the antics of Taylor, and expressed his opinions in an angry manner.
While this certainly was one of the talking points of the match, the hat-trick by Trent Boult later on took all the limelight. After his team had posted 266 for 9 in their 50 overs, the left-hander swung the match in New Zealand's favor with a sensational spell.
Boult exposed Pakistan's batting woes early on, bowling Zaman off his pads before having Azam caught at slip and then trapping Hafeez leg-before with a sharp inswinging delivery.
By doing so, he became only the third Kiwi bowler to bag a hat-trick in ODI cricket after Danny Morrison (against India in Napier - 1994) and Shane Bond (against Australia in Hobart - 2007).