Our Prediction is that Pakistan will win the first ODI against New Zealand.
New Zealand are in UAE to play Pakistan in 3 T20Is, 3 ODIs, and 3 Tests, in that order. The T20 leg of the series has been won by Pakistan comprehensively winning all three matches.
A couple of matches went to the last over but the last T20I was a very comprehensive win by Pakistan by 47 runs where New Zealand collapsed to just 119 chasing 166 losing their last 8 wickets for just 23. Besides Williamson,
none could stand the Pakistan bowling attack.
Fitness has been an issue for New Zealand in this series and by the looks of it, they are going to have to play the first ODI without three first-choice players.
Pakistan cannot put a foot wrong lately. They are peaking in all departments and are looking an unbeatable side right now; at least in the UAE.
This is the first ODI they are playing after the Asia Cup where they lost to Bangladesh in the virtual semi-final. It was their batting that let Pakistan down in the Asia cup. They badly lost to India twice in the Asia Cup.
But since then they are on a roll in the UAE and are winning absolutely everything that is coming their way. The batting looks much settled now with Babar Azam, who became fastest to 1000 runs in the last T20I against New Zealand, and Mohammed Hafiz have shown form with the bat. Shoaib Malik looks in a good nick too.
As always bowling is doing wonders for them. Shaheen Afridi is bowling superbly at the moment and Shadab Khan is climbing in the player rankings.
NEW ZEALAND PREVIEW
As a team playing after 7 months in the international cricket a bit of rustiness was expected from New Zealand. But as one of the fittest teams in the world, the injury issues are kind of unexpected.
They lost Martin Guptill before the start of the series and now Corey Anderson is out the ODIs as well. Todd Astle, the leg-spinner, is surely out of the first ODI and might miss the rest of the ODI if not recovered.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium has been good for New Zealand though. Out of the 5 matches played at this venue against Pakistan since 2009 they have won 4. The last time these two played an ODI against each other was back in 2014.
With their captain back in form, New Zealand would be looking to keep that record going against Pakistan at this venue.
Sheikh Zayed Stadium is not a very high scoring venue – 300 has been crossed only once since 2015. Teams have defended modest totals here. This is also evident from the fact that the teams batting first have won 8 out of 10 times at this venue. The team winning the toss should look to bat first here and use the little assistance in the latter half of the match to defend.
Pakistan have had a solid record in the UAE and have won 4 of the last 5 ODIs whereas New Zealand have a good record against the hosts at the venue historically.
With the T20I series win to boost their confidence and a depleted opposition because of the injury concerns, our prediction is that Pakistan will kick off the ODI series with a win in the 1st ODI.