The Pakistan-New Zealand ODI series is starting from Thursday (April 27) at Pindi Cricket Stadium with both the teams have their sights on this year’s ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2023.
After an intriguing T20I series that finished 2-2, Pakistan and New Zealand head into a five-match ODI series which could be crucial preparation for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup later this year. A riveting T20I series saw New Zealand come from 0-2 behind to level the series with the fourth match washed out after a hailstorm in Rawalpindi. The competitive series paves way to the five-match ODI series that begins in Rawalpindi on Thursday with the second match also set to be played at the same venue. The action shifts to Karachi for the final three matches of the series.
With eyes on the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup later this year, both teams would be looking to amp up their preparations. While Pakistan are nearly at full strength, New Zealand are missing a few regulars who are playing in the Indian Premier League.
New Zealand topped the Cricket World Cup Super League standings with 16 wins in 24 matches. Pakistan, meanwhile, are fifth with eight wins in 13 matches. Since 2022, Pakistan have won nine of their 12 ODIs, winning three of the four series they played. Their only loss incidentally came against New Zealand at home earlier this year when they lost a bilateral series by a 1-2 margin.
Ahead of the ODI series, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said: “Each and every match that we play from now on holds a great significance for us. “This series is a brilliant opportunity for us to fine-tune our combinations and gather the momentum ahead of the mega events in the shape of Asia Cup and the much-anticipated World Cup. “This team has done well in the past one year in the one-day format and I have firm faith in my boys that they will perform according to expectations in the exciting next seven months.”
New Zealand skipper Tom Latham was ecstatic about the visitors’ comeback in the T20I series, but maintained that the ODIs would present a stiff challenge. “To come out with a series draw after being two down was awesome,” Latham said. “It’s going to be a tough ODI series on the back of what this T20I series has produced. We have seen some great games of cricket and the one-day series is going to be no different. “It’s a new format, and we have to adapt quickly. Hopefully we can do that straight away.”
Both teams also have a chance to go to the top of the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s ODI Team Rankings. New Zealand are currently level on points with top-ranked Australia and India and a series victory would see them go to the top of the Rankings. Pakistan, who are placed fifth currently, can also climb to the top if they manage to sweep the series 5-0.
PAKISTAN: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan (vc), Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Ihsanullah, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Haris (wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Mohammad Wasim Jnr, Naseem Shah, Salman Ali Agha, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Usama Mir.
NEW ZEALAND: Tom Latham (c), Adam Milne, Ben Lister, Blair Tickner, Chad Bowes, Cole McConchie, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Jimmy Neesham, Mark Chapman, Matt Henry, Rachin Ravindra, Tom Blundell, Will Young.