Although Pakistan have been exceptional in the T20Is, their ODI record off late has not been quite what they would like. They were struggling in the Asia Cup as well and were knocked out of the tournament prematurely.
Interestingly, Pakistan have lost all their last 12 ODIs against New Zealand. The last ODI series that the two teams played against each other, New Zealand outclassed Pakistan 5-0.
The Kiwis have had good year thus far. They have won eight out of the 11 matches played in 2018. The last time they played this format, they gave England a run for their money but lost the series 2-3.
Following the adage of not tinkering with the winning combination, New Zealand would probably persist with George Worker as the opener alongside Colin Munro. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor would be the mainstays of the batting order.
Trent Boult was exceptional in the last game where he clinched a hat-trick and broke the back of the Pakistan batting order. He would be assisted by Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi and Lockie Ferguson.
Fakhar Zaman has not been able to fire for Pakistan for a long time now. Imam-ul-Haq looked in good touch in the last game. Shoaib Malik and Sarfaraz Ahmed are the key players in the middle order while Shaheen Afridi and Shadab Khan are the strike bowlers.
Let's have a look at the probable playing XIs of both teams.
Pakistan- Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Junaid Khan
New Zealand- George Worker, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult
Who will win? – Pakistan
Head to Head – ODIs 101, New Zealand 48, Pakistan 53
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) – Babar Azam (Pakistan), Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Shadab Khan (Pakistan), Ish Sodhi (New Zealand)
Most Sixes – Shoaib Malik (Pakistan), Colin Munro (New Zealand)
Team Scores Batting First – Pakistan 250+, 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