Big challenge for young Kiwi side against confident Pakistan
Pakistan to win
It is the first game of the three-match series and host Pakistan would seek to take an early lead in the series against New Zealand. The hosts have done well at home in the last two years winning three series. They have good knowledge of the conditions and shall look to use it to their advantage. New Zealand on the other hand have a mountain to climb to win this game.
New Zealand have come to this tour with a young squad. Few players have experience of playing in the India subcontinent and this would be a big challenge for them. Pakistanis on the other hand are playing a full-strength squad with more experience in every department of the game. It will be interesting to see if New Zealand is able to pull out a surprise here.
Babar Azam would be confident leading his side into this game. They are up against a second-string Kiwi squad and Azam shall look to exploit this in home conditions. They have won the last three ODI series they have played at home and shall look to continue this domination. Azam would want to avoid any complacency from his players going into this game.
They have a strong batting line-up with Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman opening the batting and a good show would be expected from them. Azam adds solidity to the middle order that has Mohammad Rizwan and Abdullah Shafique. In Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan the side has good finishers to take the side to a big score in this game.
The side would like to see tight spells from Mohammad Hasnain and Shaheen Afridi with the new ball. They would need to trouble the inexperienced Kiwi line-up. In Hasan Ali and Usman Qadir, they have good bowlers for these slow conditions. Shadab Khan and Iftikhar Ahmed add good variety to this attack.
Babar Azam (c), Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shaheen Afridi, Abdullah Shafique, Hasan Ali, Usman Qadir, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Iftikhar Ahmed
New Zealand have opted for a young squad for this tour which will be their first on Pakistani soil since 2003. With most of their top players opting to play the IPL, this is a weakened side that would be taking on the Pakistanis. Tom Latham who is leading would expect his young players to prove their skills and abilities on this tour.
The side would need a good start from Tom Latham and Henry Nicholls as both these players bring in lot of experience. In the middle order runs would be expected from the bat of Colin de Grandhomme, Finn Allen and Will Young and they would need to play the spinners well. In Scott Kuggeleijn, Rachin Ravindra and Cole McConchie the side does have good hitters of the ball down the order.
Their bowling attack is young and inexperienced, and they would be put to test by the Pakistanis. Ajaz Patel and Matt Henry need to get early wickets as Pakistan has good strength at the top. Doug Bracewell and McConchie must keep the scoring under check in the middle overs. Kuggeleijn, de Grandhomme and Young add depth to this attack.
Tom Latham (c&wk), Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Finn Allen, Ajaz Patel, Cole McConchie, Doug Bracewell, Matt Henry, Scott Kuggeleijn, Rachin Ravindra, Will Young
|Hr||Temp||Rain||W. speed||W. direction||Clouds|
|00h||27||0 mm.||3.08 k/h||From: E||2%|
|03h||27||0 mm.||3.7 k/h||From: ESE||6%|
|06h||28||0 mm.||3.97 k/h||From: SE||35%|
|09h||32||0 mm.||2.42 k/h||From: SSE||21%|
|12h||32||0 mm.||1.82 k/h||From: S||11%|
|15h||29||0 mm.||1.91 k/h||From: ESE||1%|
|18h||27||0 mm.||3.12 k/h||From: ESE||0%|
|21h||26||0 mm.||3.12 k/h||From: E||0%|
It will be clear skies over Rawalpindi on September 17 and the conditions are expected to be hot and humid. The conditions would be perfect for batting with little expected on this surface for the bowlers. The side that bats first in the game would need to put more than 300 runs on the board to feel comfortable.
Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium is a high scoring venue and batsmen always enjoy playing here as the ball comes onto the bat nicely. Fast bowlers must use their variations well as there is hardly anything for them on the wicket. Spinners have done well in the past as the ball tends to start turning as the game progresses.
It is expected to be a flat surface here where there would be hardly any assistance for the bowlers with the new ball. The ball is expected to turn as the pitch wears and the game progresses. The side winning the toss here shall have no hesitation in batting first in this game.
New Zealand would be under pressure here. They have a young squad with few players having experience of these conditions. Their bowlers would be under test as they aren’t likely to get the assistance they do at home. Pakistan is playing its full-strength side and they have good experience in the batting as well as bowling departments. They would start overwhelming favorites to win this game.
Pakistan to win