Pakistan vs New Zealand, 1st ODI: Preview and Predicted Playing XI
After outclassing the Kiwis in the shortest format, Pakistan will aim to assert their supremacy in the ODIs when they host New Zealand for the first ODI at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday, November 7.
Both teams have played 103 ODIs against each other. The Asian giants lead the scoreline 53-47 with one game ending on a tie and two matches not yielding any result.
In Abu Dhabi, the two countries have faced each other on five occasions with New Zealand comprehensively leading the scoreline 4-1. In their previous meeting at this venue, back in December 2014, the Kiwis posted 275/4 on the board and then bowled the Greens out for 207 in the 44th over to seal a comfortable 68-run victory.
Despite being the No.1 ranked side in the T20I format, Pakistan have not been able to replicate their T20I success in ODIs. They have played 15 ODI matches this year with a win-loss record of 7-8. Five of these wins have come against Zimbabwe while one each against Hong Kong and Afghanistan. Clearly, they are yet to defeat any top-ranked team this year.
Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam were Pakistan's best batsmen in recently concluded T20I series with 132 and 126 runs respectively. Both are coming on the back of half-centuries in their last innings and it will be crucial for hosts that both of these batsmen continue to perform well in the ODI series too.
The onus will also be on the likes of Fakhar Zaman, Sarfraz Ahmed and the experienced Shoaib Malik to come good with the bat and help Pakistan put up a good total on the board.
Spinners Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan are expected to pose big threat to the opponents. Both did exceptionally well for Pakistan in the three T20Is and shared five wickets between them in the final game.
Hasan Ali, who is their best ranked ODI bowler, will bear the responsibility to get few early wickets to provide the initial advantage.
Expected Playing XI
Sarfraz Ahmed (C), Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali.
New Zealand have won seven and lost just three out of the ten ODIs they have played this year. The stat also includes the five-match series against Pakistan earlier this year, which they ended up winning 5-0.
Their recent record against Pakistan in 50 over format also gives them a certain advantage over the hosts. The Kiwis last lost an ODI to Pakistan way back in 2014 and currently are on an 11 consecutive match winning streak against the Asian giants.
Kane Williamson scored the most runs for the Kiwis in the T20I series. The skipper played an excellent inning of 60 runs in 38 balls in the last game and one may expect him to fire in ODI series.
In the absence of Corey Anderson, the team's middle-order will depend heavily on Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme. Taylor has been their backbone in the middle order, while de Grandhomme is considered among of the best finishers in the side and it will be up to these two to provide resistance in case of top order failure.
The bowling department looks settled with the likes of Trent Boult and Tim Southee. Both are the main weapons in New Zealand's pace attack and are expected to rattle the Pakistani lineup early on.
Meanwhile, their main concern will be Ish Sodhi's form. Off late, he has not been quite up to the mark in the ODIs and the team will need him to find some form in the upcoming game.
Expected Playing XI
Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, George Worker, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel, Tom Latham and Colin Munro.