Both teams look to kick start world cup preparations
It is just two months since the world cup commences in Australia and New Zealand as the contenders look to gear up for the important tournament. In this context the 5-match ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand gives both the teams a good platform to prepare for the all important tournament. Though the condition will not be similar to the one we have in UAE.
For Pakistan Misbah-ul-haq returns for them after the T20 series and will lead this mercurial team which sees the return of Younis Khan to the ODI side. This might be good for them as he will bring experience to the side and if he plays in the World Cup 2015 he can bring that experience into that middle order.
Younis Khan last played an ODI in Aug 2014 and before that way back in Mar 2013. He had just one fifty to his name in the 13 matches and that was the rationale behind his exclusion. His strike rate is not that great either and makes one wonder if both Misbah and Younis can be in the same middle order given the pace with which both play.
Also included in the side is a good back foot opener Nasir Jamshed and Pakistan’s veteran bowler Umar Gul. Nasir Jamshed, who last played for Pakistan in Nov 2013, was dropped after lean patch in his batting. Moreover, he is not very agile in the field too.
Sarfaraz Ahmed has been a surprise package for Pakistan and based on his brilliant run in tests has earned his place back into the Pakistan ODI set up. Also he is a decent keeper.
New Zealand has a depleted side for this ODI series with their captain Brendon McCullum, Tim Southee and Trent Boult were rested. Kane Williamson will captain the side in absence of Brendon McCullum.
Daniel Vettori, who made a comeback into the national side this year, is expected to play a vital role in the slow conditions of UAE.
In the 89 matches played between these teams New Zealand has won just 35 of those and if we look at the games played since 2000 between these teams, the result is out of balance too for this period. Of the 14 matches played between these teams NZ has won just 3 of them.
Team News :
Mohammad Hafeez, after being reported for the suspect action, is expected to take the field as a batsman only. This blow to Pakistan does alter their balance of playing XI as most of the time he completes his quota of ten overs. Also Younis Khan is expected to play at number 4.
Pakistan (probable) 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk) , 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Zulfiqar Babar, 11 Mohammad Irfan
Martin Guptill has been ruled out of the match due to a hamstring niggle which also kept him out of the second T20. New Zealand have not yet taken a call on Corey Anderson’s selection, after the allrounder was struck on the helmet during the first T20. Keeping in mind the slow nature of the pitch New Zealand might be tempted to field two spinners, Vettori and Nathan McCullum.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Anton Devcich, 2 Kane Williamson (capt), 3 Dean Brownlie, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham, 6 Luke Ronchi (wk), 7 James Neesham, 8 Daniel Vettori, 9 Adam Milne 10 Nathan McCullum, 11 Kyle Mills
The Pitch :
Pitch at Dubai stadium is traditionally slow as was witnessed in the 2nd T20 played here. Last five ODIs played here have seen scores of 215-284-209-237-222. This shows it is not a high scoring ground and the score of 300 is breached only once in 13 matches played here. The highest total chased here is 284 which was achieved by Sri Lanka against Pakistan.
Pakistan has won 5 matches of the eight they have played here, so they don’t have any concrete record at this ground.
Of the 13 matches played here eight have been won by the chasing team. This definitely points to the case of pitch getting easy to bat under lights.
The Odds :
If we take a look at the teams of both the sides there is definite dearth of batting in New Zealand side and hence the odds 1.64 for Pakistan. However, we do not recommend to back Pakistan at these odds as they too can be indifferent. If the odds go higher for Pakistan we recommend to back Pakistan.