They say Pakistan is a country of unpredictability, whether it be their politics or sport. Even within cricket, one cannot precisely guess how Pakistan will perform tomorrow. As of late, Pakistan has presented their T20I success to the world by winning a record-breaking eleven consecutive series now, but their One-Day International (ODI) form is giving quite a different story.
Pakistan has not beat their upcoming opponents New Zealand in eleven matches. Their poor display at the Asia Cup (losing to India twice and to Bangladesh) will only make the Pakistanis less confident.
Granted, New Zealand hasn’t played an ODI in quite some time, their last one coming against Australia in January in the Trans-Tasmanian Cup, but their chances of winning could not be any higher. Pakistan will struggle to find a winning combination in the longer format. New Zealand’s record against Pakistan will only make the Kiwis appear stronger.
New Zealand’s squad holds a winning combination, the fast-bowling line being the most fearful for Pakistan. New Zealand will be excited for the return of Trent Boult, who will partner alongside Tim Southee, and will be supported by Lockie Ferguson and Colin de Grandhomme.
In the spin department, New Zealand will look to use Ish Sodhi and Ajaz Patel, as Ish Sodhi was instrumental in dismantling Pakistan last year in New Zealand’s 5-0 win over Pakistan and Patel being deemed impressive in New Zealand A’s tour of the UAE against Pakistan A.
Pakistan’s squad is quite similar to the T20I team, even more so now that batting all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez and left-arm off-spinner Imad Wasim has been re-included in the squad. Mohammad Amir misses out once again for the fast bowlers, but Pakistan makes room for the likes of Usman Shinwari, Junaid Khan, and eighteen-year-old Shaheen Afridi, all who can compete for a role in the starting XI.
Fakhar Zaman and Imam ul-Haq (who possesses an ODI average of 64.08) will be the opening pair for the men in green, but Zaman will need to slightly reassess and play more cautiously after a disappointing T20 series against New Zealand. The middle order will be made up of the reliability of Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, yet the instability of Asif Ali and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed. In ten ODI matches, Ali has managed only one half-century while Ahmed’s last fifty came all the way back in June 2017 against Sri Lanka.
Going into the first of three ODIs tomorrow at Abu Dhabi, UAE, both teams will look to batting first. Although Abu Dhabi has always been a challenge for batsmen, with scores of above three hundred coming only twice in history at this venue, many teams find it easier to field at night with the dew and do not want to bowl in the UAE heat.
The first ODI begins tomorrow, Wednesday, November 7th, at 15:00 (3:00 PM) UAE Time, 16:00 (4:00 PM) PKT, or 6:00 AM Eastern Time. Viewers can watch the match on Sky Sports in New Zealand, PTV Sports in Pakistan, or Willow TV in the US.