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NZ vs PAK, 2nd ODI, Preview: Pakistan hoping for the resurgence against the upbeat hosts

This will be the most important game of the series for the visitors as they look to make a comeback in the series.

Kane Williamson Hundred | CricTracker.com
Kane Williamson of New Zealand celebrates his century. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

New Zealand and Pakistan will lock horns in the second of the five-match ODI series at Saxton Oval in Nelson on Tuesday. The home side is enjoying a 1-0 lead after an excellent performance in the opening game courtesy their skipper Kane Williamson. The visitors though are under the pump and need to make a statement now by improving their game in the second ODI. In failing to do so, they might be in danger of losing the series after first three matches itself.

The Kiwis are looking a confident unit with their bowling attack led by Trent Boult breathing fire ever since the series against Windies. They used the wind in Wellington perfectly and swung the new ball well to catch the batters of the visitors off-guard. The likes of Tim Southee and Doug Bracewell are also performing well for them with the only spinner Todd Astle doing his job in a proper manner. They will guard against the complacency though as Pakistan have the ability to stage a comeback.

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Sarfraz Ahmed admitted after the first game that they failed to adapt to the conditions and urged his players to improve their performances. Only Fakhar Zaman was the man who played a wonderful knock for his team and kept them in the hunt until the rain interruption. Even their bowlers got carried away with the conditions and conceded a lot of runs. They have a fantastic bowling line-up which won them the Champions Trophy and would love to replicate that form against the strong unit.

Team Combinations

New Zealand

There is no need for hosts to make any change in their winning side barring last-minute injuries. The top order is in great form with Martin Guptill also amongst the runs in the last game. Colin Munro has settled down into his new role and will look to continue in the same vein. The middle order has always come out to bat with the team in good position more often than not and have carried on the momentum very well. Astle’s all-round ability has also been on view recently with him performing his role to the potential.

Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Todd Astle, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult

Pakistan

The visitors have a lot to think about their combination but they will also guard against making wholesale of changes only after the first game. The current lot has to deliver in the next game and they have to hunt in the pack to beat New Zealand at home. Azhar Ali needs to show the solidity at the top along with Fakhar who looked solid. Babar Azam also needs to improve his technique against the moving ball. The middle order has to combat the pressure and bail the team out of trouble if required.

Probable XI: Azhar Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Hasan Ali, Rumman Raees

Focus will be on

Tom Latham (New Zealand)

Latham has gone quiet ever since he has come back from the decent tour of India. He was excellent combating the spin bowlers of the home side but has struggled in the home season so far. The extra responsibility of wicket-keeping might have got the better of him. But he is too good a player to be considered out of form just as yet. Even he might be knowing that he has to perform well to stay in contention. The left-hander will be happy to come to the middle with the side comfortably placed.

Sarfraz Ahmed (Pakistan)

The skipper Sarfraz will be looked closely as his backs are against the wall for the first time in the limited overs format since taking over the mantle of the side. He also has to contribute with the bat as the team will require runs from him lower down the order. A case for him to bat up the order can’t be ruled out which will come as a surprise from the home side. His captaincy traits are surely going to be tested on this tour as his mates have to respond to his calls and do not disappoint him.

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