It was a wet start to the 22nd edition of the Sultan Azlan Shah Cup as rain disrupted proceedings, forcing the organisors to move all games by 30 minutes.
And when play got underway. Pakistan edged defending champions New Zealand 4-3 in an exciting tie that saw New Zealand coming from three goals down to equalise but succumbed to a Muhammad Imran hattrick eventually.
"It was a good performance despite the fact that we lost the match as the players showed great determination despite being 3-0 down at one stage," sad New Zealand coach Colin Batch.
"It will be interesting against Malaysia tomorrow as we played them twice already this week but this is the one that counts, and we aim to win it this time around.
"The noise level affected the players and I expect it to be higher tmorrow and the players need to adapt."
Pakistan took the lead in the 19th minute as Muhammad Imran converted a penalty corner, his waist high flick giving NZ keeper Devon Manchester no chance whatsoever.
Hardly had the cheers died down that Pakistan struck again, this time Muhammad Waqas breaking through on the right, drawing out Manchester before squaring it to Abdul Haseem Khan who had the simplest of tasks slotting into the empty goal to put Pakistan 2-0 up in the 21st minute.
Imran then took his personal tally to two goals as he once again converted a penalty corner in the 28th minute to put Pakistan 3-0 ahead.
New Zealand reduced the deficit via their third penalty corner as the drag push by Kane Russel in the 30th minute sailed under the despairing dive of Imran Butt.
With Pakistan opting to defend their lead, New Zealand laid siege to the Pakistan goal and were duly rewarded.
Blair Tarrant weaved his magic in the semi circle, dodging past two defenders before slotting the ball past Imran to put New Zealand within a goal of Pakistan in the 52nd minute.
And three minutes later Andy Hayward made no mistake from New Zealand's fourth penalty corner to put his team on level terms.
Just when many though that Pakistan were doomed, Imran stepped up to complete his hattrick in the 58th minute to give his team a 4-3 lead.
And this time Pakistan held on to it to bag all three points.
"Though New Zealand came back from three goals down, our players showed good composure and held their nerves," said Pakistan coach Akhtar Rasool.
"It is a good win but we made things difficult for ourselves and should not allow this to happen again.
"Australia are an entirely different proposition and I look forward to that match."