Cricket One Day International Prediction
Pakistan vs New Zealand - Match Preview
🏏 5 May 2023 - 14:30 GMT +0
An enormous wave of relief would have swept over the Pakistan camp after they ensured New Zealand would not replicate their two-game comeback in the recent T20I series. For the first time in the series, Pakistan was tasked with batting first at a venue that often doesn’t suit it, and they passed the test with flying colours. It would be foolish to believe that, despite the series result, the host nation is going to take these two remaining games lightly less than six months out from the next ODI World Cup!
Pakistan captain Babar Azam did hint after the third ODI (a 26-run win) that his side has been keen to test their “bench strength” throughout these ten games against New Zealand, highlighted by the debut of Ihsanullah and all-rounder Agha Salman putting in the second-longest bowling shift of his ODI career, but would nonetheless not relent nor relax in pursuit of a 5-0 clean sweep. With the fourth and fifth ODIs coming just two days after the previous one, some squad rotation for the sake of workload management rather than experimentation might be a move they wish to consider, particularly in regard to hard-working fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi who has played seven of the eight ODIs/T20Is so far and may rest just as Haris Rauf did in the previous game.
Pakistan is two wins away from claiming the ICC’s number one ODI ranking with a 5-0 clean sweep, and whilst that would be a tremendous psychological advantage for a nation trying to win their first World Cup in more than 30 years and first Asia Cup in more than ten, Babar stressed the importance of “two strong showings” in what is currently scheduled to be their last ODI series before September’s Asia Cup. All 15 available squad members have already been used through the series following Haris Sohail’s shoulder injury that forced him to withdraw.
New Zealand team management ought not to be too disheartened by their first series loss to Pakistan in 12 years when considering the absences they began the series with, but it was some mistakes from their more experienced campaigners that brought their run chase undone from a very comfortable position. Will Young and Tom Blundell both ended their very promising innings via runouts after an opening partnership of 83 from 15 overs, whilst Tom Latham and Daryl Mitchell were victims of their own poor shot selections after they too got starts. It should not have been left to debutant Cole McConchie to save the series, but they can take heart from the fact he got them so close in a difficult situation.
McConchie’s 64 not out places even further pressure on ailing veteran Henry Nicholls, who has returned just two half-centuries from 16 ODI innings since the start of 2021 and is going to have to use these two remaining games to demand his retention when New Zealand are back to full strength for their white-ball tour of the UK later this year.
They could make some bowling changes after Henry Shipley posted figures of 1/58 and 0/73 in his two games of this series, and whilst Ish Sodhi’s place is also under threat after series figures of 2/186, he looks likely to retain his spot throughout the series considering the role is he should play in the World Cup in India. Sodhi will need to be backed in by the selectors, the captain, and himself to get back to his best.
📋 Players to watch: Imam-ul-Haq continued to dominate opposition bowlers on home turf and has now cleared at least 49 runs in an astounding ten of his 15 ODIs in Pakistan (2x 100, 7x 50). With an average of 57 collectively against the five bowlers used in the previous ODI, he’d be happy for New Zealand to go in unchanged, as would lead New Zealand bowler Matt Henry who has now taken 3+ wickets in five of 12 ODIs against Pakistan.
⚡ Stat attack: The six ODIs played in Karachi since 2019 all produced first innings scores of between 255 and 305 runs (average: 281).
- Pakistan has scored the most sixes of the match in all three games of this series.
- None of Babar Azam’s last eight ODI half-centuries was converted into hundreds.
- Shaheen Shah Afridi to Tom Latham in ODIs: 3/16 from 34 balls.
- Shadab Khan is yet to dismiss Daryl Mitchell in any format, conceding 81 runs from 64 balls bowled.
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