Pakistan, New Zealand clash in first one-dayer today

By: News Desk      Published: 09:59 AM, 17 Sep, 2021
Pakistan, New Zealand clash in first one-dayer today
Pakistan captain Babar Azam and his New Zealand counterpart Tom Latham pose with the ODI series trophy at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

A new era began Friday in Pakistan-New Zealand cricket relations with the day-night one-day international in Rawalpindi. The Black Caps last visited Pakistani in 2003 for a limited-overs series, the year after a test Tour was called off due to a bombing outside the team hotel in Karachi.

There is a touch of history linked with Friday’s opening one-day international as this is New Zealand’s first tour to Pakistan after a gaping span of nearly 18 years.

The last time New Zealand were in Pakistan at the end of 2003, they disappeared without a trace during a 5-0 drubbing by the home team, and have won just thrice — by one run Sialkot, 1976; 34 runs, Sialkot 1984 and seven wickets Karachi 1996 — in 20 previous fixtures.

While the series is now reduced to a bilateral contest in the absence of the DRS facility, there are still worrying signs for Pakistan for the sterner test ahead — the Twenty20 World Cup in the United Arab Emirates and Oman. 

As of now, however, Pakistan have had a rocky run into the latest ODI series, both on and off the field. An England side, robbed of quite a lot of their first-choice stars, whitewashed Babar Azam’s side 3-0. On top of it, Misbah-ul-Haq resigned as head coach while bowling coach Waqar Younis also quit simultaneously.

Saqlain Mushtaq, the inventor of ‘doosra’ and PCB’s head of international player development, has been slotted in as the interim head coach with fellow ex-Pakistan player Abdul Razzaq taking the bowling coach’s role.

So preparation-wise, Pakistan are set to tread a tightrope against a side which is currently at the pinnacle of the International Cricket Council’s ODI rankings.

Top guns like regular captain Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee are unavailable due to various commitments while seasoned campaigner Ross Taylor has been rested, ahead of a busy season for New Zealand.

And despite being denied services of wicket-keeper Tom Blundell for the ODI leg through injury, the Tom Latham-led Black Caps have called up Daryl Mitchell from the T20 squad; the all-rounder though would only become eligible for selection from second ODI onwards.

Tom Blundell will remain with the squad in the hope he can play the Twenty20s.

Opening batsman Martin Guptill suspects pace could match spin in importance for the upcoming limited overs cricket series against Pakistan.

The Black Caps opener joins the side for the five T20s after the three ODIs on the tour which starts Friday in Rawalpindi.

Guptill's intelligence, having played for Karachi in the Pakistan Super League across the UAE in June, suggests change could be afoot.

Teams (probables):

PAKISTAN: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (captain), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Rizwan, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Usman Qadir, Zahid Mahmood 

NEW ZEALAND: Tom Latham (captain), Rachin Ravindra, Finn Allen, Will Young, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Colin de Grandhomme, Doug Bracewell, Cole McConchie, Scott Kuggeleijn, Matt Henry, Hamish Bennett, Blair Tickner, Ajaz Patel, Jacob Duffy

Umpires: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Ahsan Raza (Pakistan)

TV umpire: Asif Yaqoob (Pakistan)

Match referee: Mohammad Javed Malik (Pakistan)

The match will start at 2:30 pm Pakistan Standard Time (PST).