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Pakistan vs New Zealand, 1st ODI, Preview: Hosts look to redeem their limited-overs fortunes against the shaky Kiwis

Pakistan will be playing their 900th ODI on Wednesday.

Kane Williamson and Sarfraz Ahmed
Kane Williamson and Sarfraz Ahmed. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Both the teams with several issues ahead of the World Cup will lock horns in the first of the three-match ODI series in Abu Dhabi. While Pakistan are coming off a horrendous Asia Cup where they lost badly to their arch-rivals twice and also went down meekly to Bangladesh in a must-win game, New Zealand are playing their first ODI since March. It will be interesting to see how both sides fare in this unique face-off.

Sarfraz Ahmed, as a captain will be more under the scanner in this game. He looked lost during the Asia Cup in September and certainly will be under extreme pressure. Though he will hope to take confidence from the recent T20 Internationals played in the United Arab Emirates. The team will also need to respond to him as the Men in Green will look to make amends in the 50-overs format.

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The Kiwis, coming out of their hibernation, put up an excellent fight in the T20I series before losing their way in the last game. Pakistan won’t make a mistake of taking things for granted definitely as the visitors’ never give up attitude will come to the fore. It will also be interesting to see how they confront the conditions given the fact that the pitch will change drastically as the game progresses.

Team Combinations

Pakistan

If the proceedings in the Asia Cup are any indications, Pakistan are likely to make a few changes to their line-up. Hasan Ali’s place is definitely in danger as he performed poorly in the tournament while Junaid Khan played a solitary game and went on to pick four wickets. Mohammad Amir has been axed from the squad and Shaheen Afridi is grown with every game. Mohammad Hafeez‘s return has strengthened the team’s batting and even Shoaib Malik will also play a key role for them.

Probable XI: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (C & wk), Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi/Junaid Khan.

New Zealand

New Zealand have a little different look to their ODI team. Corey Anderson has been ruled out of the series due to heel injury which has been a jolt to the team. Colin Munro and George Worker will open the innings while Williamson, Ross Taylor along with Tom Latham will look to hold the innings against the spinners.

Even Henry Nicholls will be crucial for them as he plays spin well. Colin de Grandhomme will be the all-rounder in the team while Tim Southee and Trent Boult will look after the pace bowling department. Ish Sodhi and Ajaz Patel are the two spinners who will be keen to improve on their show after a rather average T20I series.

Probable XI: George Worker, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Ajaz Patel, Trent Boult.

Focus will be on

Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan)

The left-handed opener has gone off colour suddenly since Asia Cup. He struggled considerably in the tournament and then got injured. Even after his return to the T20I in the last two matches, Fakhar Zaman wasn’t convincing at all. He will definitely be under pressure to score runs after a superb year so far in which he scored a double-century against Zimbabwe. His approach will be interesting to see against the Kiwis in this game.

Kane Williamson (New Zealand)

You can never ignore this man. Kane Williamson played a blinder in the dead rubber game a few days ago. If he manages to play in the same vein of form, the fans will be in for a humdinger in Abu Dhabi. The Kiwi skipper holds key to this line-up and a lot will depend on how he fares in this series.

Head to Head

Matches – 103 | Pakistan won – 53 | New Zealand won – 47 | NR/Tie – 3

Stat Attack

900 – Pakistan are playing their 900th ODI in their cricket history. They have won 476 matches out of those and lost 397.

Broadcast Details

TV – Sony Six and Sony Six HD

Live Streaming – Sony LIV

Match Timings – 16:30 IST; 15:00 local

Get the latest Cricket News and updates, Match PredictionsFantasy Cricket Tips and lots more on CricTracker.com.

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