Buoyant New Zealand seek encore
Match FactsJanuary 26, Queenstown
Start time 11:00 (22.00 GMT)
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.
New Zealand: WLLLL
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 newsJohn 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
Quotes"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