Pakistan would be full of confidence after their dominating series victory over New Zealand. The Kiwis though can take some heart from the fact that they are not only a better-ranked ODI team than Pakistan but have also beaten them four times out of five in Abu Dhabi.
Not only this, the last time that the two teams played an ODI series against each other, New Zealand cleaned up Pakistan 5-0. However, that series was hosted by New Zealand and this one is hosted by Pakistan.
Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam are in red-hot form while Imam Ul Haq, Haris Sohail and Junaid Khan will also make a comeback. If Fakhar Zaman can also fire at the top, the Men in Green are a formidable unit.
New Zealand have been impacted by a couple of injury issues. Corey Anderson has been ruled out of the ODI series due to a heel injury while leg spinner Tod Astle is unavailable for the first match due to a knee injury.
Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme will be their key batsmen. The trusted pair of Tim Southee and Trent Boult would be the top pace bowling options. Ish Sodhi looked out of sorts in the T20I series and the team would expect him to bounce back.
Pakistan- Mohammad Hafeez, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (c)(wk), Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi
New Zealand- Tom Latham (wk), Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, George Worker, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson/Matt Henry, Tim Southee, Ajaz Patel
Cricket Betting Tips and Match Predictions*
Who will win? – Pakistan
Head to Head – ODIs 101, New Zealand 47, Pakistan 53
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) – Babar Azam (Pakistan), Ross Taylor (New Zealand)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Shadab Khan (Pakistan), Trent Boult(New Zealand)
Most Sixes – Shoaib Malik (Pakistan), Colin Munro (New Zealand)
Team Scores Batting First – Pakistan 260+, New Zealand 240+
*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features soon, so stay tuned.
© Cricket World 2018