New Zealand tasted first blood on their tour of the UAE as they beat hosts by 47 runs in first ODI at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi. The visitors will now aim to seal series, when they face Pakistan in second ODI at the same venue on Friday, November 9.
In Abu Dhabi, the two countries have faced each other on six occasions with the Kiwis bamboozling the scoreline 5-1. In their previous meeting at this venue, the Kiwis posted 266/9 on the board and then bowled the Greens out for 219 in the 47.2 overs to seal a convincing 47 run victory.
Unlike T20I, Pakistan's performance has never been that convincing in ODIs and defeat in the previous fixture further solidified that fact. The Asians have not been able to defeat higher ranked team in 50 over format since beginning of this year and now are on verge of another ODI series defeat against Kiwis.
Barring Imam-ul-Haq, their entire Pakistani top-order failed to click in the first ODI and the respective scores of Fakhar Zaman (1), Babar Azam (0) and Mohammad Hafeez (0) are enough to explain their failure. The team will need these three to come to the fore in the second ODI.
Despite the failure of the top order, there were few positives for Pakistan in the middle order. Skipper Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik and Imad Wasim chipped in few busty partnerships in the middle order and it will essential that these three continue their positive run in next fixture.
Both Shaheen Afridi and Shadab Khan snared a four-fer in opening fixture and the hosts will be expecting a similar performance from these two in the second game. Meanwhile, they will also bank on the likes of Junaid Khan, who has 17 wickets in 9 ODIs at this ground and he will be expected to provide the early scalps for hosts.
Expected Playing XI
Sarfraz Ahmed (C), Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik.
New Zealand have now won their last 12 ODIs against Pakistan in a row and seem to have received a much-needed boost after the whitewash in T20I series.
For Kiwis, Ross Taylor once again proved his worth with an impressive knock of 80 and he along with Tom Latham (68) will once again bear the responsibility to get the team off to a decent total. Meanwhile, the team will hope for a much better outings from openers Colin Munro and George Worker to lay down the platform for middle and lower order to follow. Skipper Kane Williamson has been in good touch in recent times, but failed to convert his start in last ODI and he will be eager to convert it into something substantial this time.
Trent Boult was the star performer of the day and the main reason behind Kiwis triumph in the series opener. The pacer became only the third New Zealand bowler to claim an ODI hat-trick and will pose a major threat with the ball in upcoming fixtures as well. Apart from him, the visitors will also bank on the likes of Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi and Lockie Ferguson to claim breakthroughs at regular intervals.
Expected Playing XI
Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult, George Worker and Colin Munro.