Cricket One Day International Prediction
New Zealand vs Sri Lanka - Match Preview
🏏 27 April 2023 - 14:30 GMT +0
A fascinating T20I series (2-2) that saw an inexperienced New Zealand side learn sharply on the fly to record the nation’s 100th T20I victory a week after a first-game humbling came to its denouement in Rawalpindi, where Pakistan and New Zealand remain for the first two chapters of a five-game ODI series that will conclude next month in Karachi. Current ICC rankings suggest this is New Zealand’s (rank #2) strongest format, whilst Pakistan have struggled against strong opposition in this format lately.
There’s no more recent or pertinent example of that than Pakistan’s last ODI series, which happened to be at home to the same opposition just three months ago. In a series played entirely in Karachi, Pakistan succumbed to a 2-1 loss after winning the opening game, albeit with the bulk of New Zealand’s runs and wickets in their successes coming from players plying their trade in the Indian Premier League (IPL) this time around.
Pakistan have made six changes between their 16-member T20I and ODI squads. Out goes number three Saim Ayub, all-rounders Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim, middle order batters Iftikhar Ahmed and Mohammad Haris, and fast bowler Zaman Khan. The six to replace them are top-order batters Imam-ul-Haq and Abdullah Shafique, all-rounders Agha Salman Ali and Mohammad Wasim, as well as middle-order veteran Haris Sohail. The final inclusion is leg-spinner Usama Mir, whose only taste of international cricket was January’s ODI series against New Zealand where he claimed just four wickets from his 30 overs.
Prior to the time, these teams met in Karachi earlier this year, Pakistan enjoyed ODI series wins against both the West Indies (3-0) and Australia (2-1) and should therefore be feeling quite confident given the reduced experience and class of their opposition this time around. Rawalpindi was due to host these teams in September 2021 prior to New Zealand leaving on the day of the opening match due to security concerns, and prior to that its only ODI cricket in the last 15 years was a 2-1 series victory over lowly Zimbabwe.
New Zealand’s most recent ODI assignment was a 2-0 series win at home to Sri Lanka, earned despite losing some walk-up starters both prior to and during the series owing to its proximity to the start of the IPL. Veterans Henry Nicholls and Tom Blundell were called up to the squad for the final match of that series and they are the only two additions to New Zealand’s existing T20I squad in Pakistan, whilst Mark Chapman was added following his Player of the Series efforts in the T20Is that head coach Gary Stead hailed as “nothing short of outstanding”. Dane Cleaver will be heading home early by himself as the only one not to make the ODI squad.
Whilst pitches in Pakistan can be vastly different to those that will be served up for the 2023 ODI World Cup in India late this year, it will certainly provide valuable Asian experience as well as opportunities for fringe members to ensure they are part of the World Cup squad. Balmy but dry conditions are expected for this series opener, with all five games beginning at 3:30 pm local time to avoid the worst of the April and May heat.
⚡ Key battle: Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Nawaz dismissed opposing all-rounder Daryl Mitchell twice in the January 2023 series for just 16 runs from 32 balls bowled. Nawaz was economical in that series, taking six wickets at 4.30rpo. Mitchell has a point to prove here after his six ODIs against Pakistan and India in January 2023 netted him a top score of 36 and an average of under 18.
📋 Stat attack: Nine of the last ten ODIs in Pakistan produced first innings scores of at least 250 runs.
- The average across those ten games was 279, as it was for the five teams who won, batting first in that period.
- Seven of the last ten ODIs in Pakistan produced at least one individual century.
- A batter from Pakistan recorded the highest score of the match in nine of their last 11 home ODIs.
- Five of New Zealand’s eight ODI opening partnerships in 2023 were worth fewer than ten runs, whilst none breached 50.
- A fast bowler returned New Zealand’s best bowling figures (wickets followed by economy rate) in each of their last six ODIs.
- Haris Rauf has never bowled to Jimmy Neesham in an ODI but boasts H2H T20I figures of 4/43 following three dismissals in this month’s series.
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