Pakistan will continue their successful home season by recording a win in the 1st ODI of the 3-match ODI series against New ZealandBET NOW
The rivalry between Pakistan and New Zealand goes up a notch as the two teams now prepare for the 3-match ODI series. Pakistan dominated the preceding T20I series by recording their 11th consecutive series win. But the 50-over format poses a completely different challenge in terms of strategy, endurance, and skill. The 1st ODI match is scheduled to be played at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi on the 7th of November 2018. The cricket prediction looks at the past records, player statistics, and other conditions to ascertain the winner of this match. Our heart says New Zealand but our mind leans towards a win for Pakistan in this 1st ODI match.
The men in green are going through what probably is their best year in T20I cricket. They have won 17 T20 matches this year and 11 T20I bi-lateral series in a row. Their ODI successes have not been that great to say the least. The champions trophy champions of 2017 have won just 7 out of the 15 ODI matches they have played this year. This includes a 5-0 drubbing at the hands of New Zealand when the Pakistanis toured New Zealand in January. The 7 wins this year have come against Zimbabwe, Hong Kong, and Afghanistan and the 5-0 thrashing of a hapless Zimbabwe is a minute thing considering that Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq dominated the batting performance in the African sub-continent. Zaman has not gone past 50 in 23 matches played across all formats of the game in the sub-continent. This should have been the other way around considering the fact that these players are born and raised in familiar slow and low batting conditions.
New Zealand have played just 10 ODI matches this year; two 5-match bi-lateral series against Pakistan and England to be precise. New Zealand bossed the series against Pakistan in their home conditions but the English got the better of them by winning the series 3-2. Overall, the two teams have played 103 ODI matches against each other. Pakistan has won 53 of those while the Kiwis have won 47. So, the overall stats are almost 50-50.
Pakistan is going in with an unchanged squad from the one that took on New Zealand in the T20I series. Sarfraz Ahmed’s agitated way of leading the team seems to be working for Pakistan; at least in the shortest format of the game. He has been one of the most successful captains of Pakistan in the recent past and has marshalled a young group of players well. Fakhar Zaman will hope that he can regain the form he showed against Zimbabwe in Zimbabwe. Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam will have to tussle for the other opener and number 3 batting spot. Shoaib Malik, the most experienced batsman in the side will be looked upon to keep the scoreboard ticking during the middle period of the innings along with Sarfraz Ahmed and Asif Ali for support at number 5 and 6. The batting unit has proven themselves in the shortest format of the game. But can they transfer this success to the 50-over game? This remains to be seen.
Pakistan’s bowling attack remains their most potent form of defense even in this format of the game. We expect Usman Khan to take the new ball with Shaheen Afridi with Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf for support. Junaid Khan is also in the squad but may not get to play the 1st ODI match. Shadab Khan, the highest T20I wicket-taker of 2018 along with Imad Wasim are the key spin bowling options for Sarfraz. They are capable of limiting even the most free-flowing batsman.
The preceding T20I series exposed a few flaws in New Zealand’s batting unit. Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, and Corey Anderson were the only ones to make any useful contribution with the bat. 28-year-old Williamson, the number 7 ranked ODI batsman in the world has scored 5156 ODI runs at an average of 46.87 runs per innings. Colin Munro will have a new opening partner due to the absence of Martin Guptill. Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls are the two obvious candidates for the same. Ross Taylor and the returning BJ Watling will be the key players in the middle-order while New Zealand will hope that de Grandhomme can put behind the horrors of the T20 series to make a worthwhile contribution while batting in the middle order. Todd Astle is another key all-rounder in the side followed by the bowling attack consisting of Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Matt Henry, and Ish Sodhi.
The old adage goes that ‘well begun is half the battle won’. Pakistan and New Zealand will be trying their utmost to make sure that they notch up a victory in the 1st ODI match of the series. Our cricket prediction is that Pakistan will successfully transfer their confidence to this new format and go on to take a 1-nil lead in the 3-match series.