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Feature

The traditional Pakistan fast bowler's welcome

Plays of the day from the first T20 international between New Zealand and Pakistan in Auckland

Mitchell Santner had Sohaib Maqsood caught behind, New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st T20I, Auckland, January 15, 2016

Mitchell Santner struck off his first ball, getting surprising turn to dismiss Sohaib Maqsood  •  AFP

The welcome
There were more cheers than boos for Mohammad Amir upon his international return, but it wasn't until the fourth over of New Zealand's innings that he received the most time-honoured Pakistan fast bowler's welcome. He had Kane Williamson top-edge a ball in that over, and Shahid Afridi barely had to move at cover to settle under it. Having set himself up beautifully beneath the ball, Afridi proceeded to spill the catch.
The dip and grip
Ahmed Shehzad said Pakistan did not expect New Zealand to use much spin on Friday but, having picked two frontline slow-bowling options in their XI, the hosts brought Mitchell Santner on to bowl the seventh over. Sohaib Maqsood would also have been surprised at the turn on offer from Eden Park's drop-in pitch. He ran at Santner's first delivery, but Santner had the ball dropping short of the batsman and turning sharply to evade his stroke. Luke Ronchi was left with an easy stumping.
The overhead smash
Mohammad Hafeez had pulled well during his innings, but his most memorable use of the shot came in the 15th over, against Adam Milne. The bowler delivered a short ball that rose just above head height to Hafeez, but though the ball was too wide of off stump to pull, Hafeez found himself trying to drag the ball to the leg side. The shot he ended up playing might have been more at home on a tennis court than a cricket field. He connected with the ball, bat pointing slightly upwards, and smashed the ball in the air, to split the gap between long-on and deep midwicket.
The failed self-sacrifice
Kane Williamson knew he'd put Martin Guptill in trouble when he hit a ball to the covers in the second over, called his partner through, then changed his mind mid-way down the pitch. Just as Guptill turned, Williamson suddenly made a dash towards the non-striker's end, hoping to overtake his partner and run himself out. It was too late. The bails had already been snapped off, and Guptill was left to trudge back to the pavilion, cursing.

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando