New Zealand v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Queenstown January 25, 2011

Buoyant New Zealand seek encore


Match Facts

January 26, Queenstown
Start time 11:00 (22.00 GMT)

Big Picture

All's been quiet on the controversy front over the past few months for Pakistan, but the announcement of a World Cup squad without a captain has stoked trouble again. Claims that the team was divided into camps supporting Test skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and limited-overs leader Shahid Afridi grew louder following a resounding nine-wicket defeat to New Zealand three days after the squad announcement.

Pakistan's familiar batting frailties cropped up in Wellington, and the second one-dayer could be a continuation of the same. It is being played in Queenstown, a much-loved spot for adventure-sport enthusiasts, but far less welcoming to batsmen - the average first-innings score is 173.

New Zealand's batting hasn't had much to boast about in the recent past either, though they made short work of the target of 125 in the first one-dayer. Their new coach, John Wright, has stressed the importance of having a strong middle and lower order, which has resulted in Brendon McCullum being pushed down to No. 6. The batting weaknesses of both sides seem of have weighed heavily on the team managements and they have responded by adding meat lower down - in the first ODI Abdul Razzaq batted as low as No. 8, while in Queenstown Daniel Vettori is slated to come in at No. 9.

The big gain for New Zealand in Wellington, before the end of a dreadful run in one-dayers, is their quick bowling, with Tim Southee in top form and Hamish Bennett proving a handful on his return from injury.

Form guide

New Zealand: WLLLL
Pakistan: LLWLW

Players to watch out for …

Umar Akmal has lost his way after a spectacular start to his career, which raised hopes that Pakistan had unearthed someone to lend steel to a fragile middle-order. He wasn't picked in the Tests, and his hold on a one-day spot is also shaky. The golden duck on Saturday made things worse, but given his undoubted talented, a substantial innings can't be far.

Hamish Bennett, the strongly built Canterbury fast bowler, was impressive on home debut in Wellington, working up speeds in the mid-140s and hassling the batsmen with bounce. With New Zealand lacking an out-and-out fast bowler since the retirement of Shane Bond, Bennett could be the man who provides teeth to the pace attack.

Team news

John Wright has said he would like all members of New Zealand's World Cup 15 to get a game in the series. Jamie How, the Central Districts batsman, gets his chance on Wednesday, taking the place of offspinner Nathan McCullum.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Ross Taylor, 4 Jamie How, 5 Scott Styris, 6 Brendon McCullum (wk), 7 James Franklin, 8 Jacob Oram, 9 Daniel Vettori (capt), 10 Tim Southee, 11 Hamish Bennett

Pakistan's team selection is a lot less straightforward. Shoaib Akhtar will open the bowling, but who will partner him remains to be seen. Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz were rested for the first game after a taxing Test series, and Gul is favourite to take Sohail Tanvir's place in the XI for the second match. Offspinner Saeed Ajmal lost his place as a starter in the South Africa series, and he might again lose out to left-arm spinner Abdur Rehman.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Kamran Akmal (wk), 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Younis Khan, 4 Asad Shafiq, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi (capt), 8 Abdul Razzaq, 9 Abdur Rehman, 10 Umar Gul, 11 Shoaib Akhtar

Stats and trivia

  • In each of the six previous completed matches in Queenstown, the team winning the toss has chosen to field, and gone on to win the match
  • In their only previous match in Queenstown, Pakistan successfully chased down 236, which is the highest total at the venue
  • The crowd for the first one-dayer in Wellington was 8299, the lowest since the Westpac Stadium opened in 2000


"We are expecting better performances from Kamran Akmal, he came back after a long time, and Umar Akmal as well."
Pakistan's captain Shahid Afridi wants more from the Akmal brothers

"I don't think it (the toss) is as important as normal because the overhead (conditions) have been so good and it's a lot drier. I wouldn't be surprised if a team batted first on it."
Daniel Vettori expects a break from tradition in Queenstown

Siddarth Ravindran is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Iqbal on January 25, 2011, 22:54 GMT

    There is very little difference between these 2 teams as far as their compositions are concerned. The only advantage is from the point of view of the "home" condiions, which is in favor of the Black Caps. However, it will all boil down to how the Pakistanis play out this series. If they have a good mindset to win, they will win.....maybe, not in every match, but, win they will, i.e. if they have the will to play positive cricket. Furthermore, it looks like the Pakistan team is also trying out different permutations and combinations (much like the Kiwis) and seeking to bring the level and quality of their performances up so as to be "battle ready" by the start of the World Cup, which is less than 3 weeks away. So, once the issue of captaincy is resolved, it should be Pakistan all the way. Good Luck, Pakistan!

  • Rehan on January 25, 2011, 22:13 GMT

    I Love the men in green,I Love TEAM PAKISTAN devoid of cricket at home ( for whatever ) reasons and hampered by the mismanagement of PCB, I feel for this team. Win or loss, I love my team unconditionally, always!!Also remember that this team still has a few match winners in its ranks in form of Razzaq( the soldier),Guli and TwoKMALS...not to mention Mr.BOOM BOOM also....all the best team Pakistan!!

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2011, 21:13 GMT

    I shud say shahid afridi is best captain ,.. and if Misbah is chosen as captain I personally think that team selection is already not that good , Misbah replacing M.Yousuf which is already a big mistake,... and then captain selection will be poor. So management Plz declare afridi as captain even though Pakistan win or loss.

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2011, 20:54 GMT

    Very Happy with the New Zealand line up, looks like a very strong ODI Team. Picking them to take this series quite comfortably and to go well in the world cup!

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2011, 20:30 GMT

    If Afridi is Removed I'll stop supporting PAKISTAN ... Love Afridi

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2011, 20:21 GMT

    People need to calm down, we should not encourage groups in the team, what if Shahid Afridi is reading this? we need to show a united front and what matters is that Afridi lead the team and just win the series. All the best khan Sahib and the team. I will support the Pak team whoever is the captain.

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2011, 19:09 GMT

    Misbah should be vice captain to Afridi in WC, like the combo we had with Imran and Miandad. Afridid being more courageous can sometimes take mis-calculated step, while Misbah can guide him when he is about to do that. It can be a killer captaincy combo for us in WC. The problem is that Afridi is no Imran Khan and have to be at the mercy of the board to be the captain, with Imran the board was at mercy of Imran!

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2011, 18:15 GMT

    im not pakistani but i8 suppote bez of afridi i love him so much as a cricketer his wanderful cricketer, if afrid is not a captain i won't suppote pakistan .

  • Dummy4 on January 25, 2011, 17:58 GMT

    Afridi is as aggressive in his captaincy as his batting, it can be very good to keep morale high on the field, but at the same time we all know he makes mistakes with his bowling changes and field settings, on the other hand misbah is too calm and relaxed, that it could possibly lead to adding too much pressure on his batting partners. It seems like hes playing just to get a 50 every game and thats all. Really hope PCB doesnt change captains right before the WC(would be a very stupid move). This whole thing about batting first by afridi is ridiculous, the batting order can collapse at any time so no point in batting first. Pakistan should chase totals for now, bowling attack is strong and can make sure theres a small target on the board for the batsmen to chase down. Anyways, good luck PAKISTAN in this series and WC!

  • khurram on January 25, 2011, 17:42 GMT

    Team anounced: Shoaib akhter, asad shafiq, sohail tanvir OUT Gul , Wahan Riaz, & Ahmed Shehzad In

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