New Zealand v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Wellington January 24, 2016

Depleted NZ look to resume home domination


Match facts

January 25, 2016
Start time 1100 local (2200 GMT)

Play 01:10
Pakistan look to bounce back after T20s

Big Picture

Injuries have hampered New Zealand's seam attack over the recent limited-overs series. Key batsmen have been sidelined by niggles. They will be without their three most experienced ODI cricketers on Monday, but still, so good have they been at home, New Zealand still appear the more dynamic team. Of the nine limited-overs games they have completed in their summer, they have won seven.

Key to New Zealand's depth has been their management's skill in spotting and honing talent. Martin Guptill was persevered with through a lean stretch at the end of 2014. He would go on to be 2015's leading ODI runscorer. Colin Munro had had a lukewarm run in the middle order, before going thermonuclear at no.3, in Auckland. Mitchell Santner has a T-Rex front arm in his delivery stride, but he moves like a raptor in the field, and has contributed smartly in the major disciplines. They are about to switch formats, but the transitions have generally been seamless for New Zealand. As their coach says, "form in any format is great".

Pakistan will feel a little battered after two heavy T20 defeats, but who is to say when metal will strike flint and their fire starts? A change of captain, and the arrival of new personnel lends a little freshness to their tour. Their left-arm pace legion has been bolstered by the arrival of Mohammad Irfan and Rahat Ali, though the spin options do appear barer without Shahid Afridi.

Their batting has been wobbly as ever in the past year, on occasion seeming outdated in their inability to attack at vital stages of the innings. There were series victories against Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe, but also bruising defeats against Bangladesh and England. On a hard Basin Reserve deck tinged slightly green on the eve of the game, Azhar Ali will need the more experienced hands in his top order - the likes of Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez - to show the younger lot how to succeed in such conditions.

Form guide

(last five matches, most recent first)
New Zealand: WLWWL

Pakistan: LLLWW

In the spotlight

New Zealand's selectors have said they are simply resting Luke Ronchi ahead of the Australia series, and are adamant that he remains the team's no. 1 white-ball keeper. But his lack of runs since June will be among New Zealand's mild concerns. Ronchi plays the first match of this series, then gives the gloves to BJ Watling for the second and third ODIs. If he gets the chance to bat, Ronchi will want to shore up his place in the XI with the kind of impactful innings he had played in the previous southern summer.

A Test-match strike rate of almost 75 suggests Sarfraz Ahmed would take nicely to ODIs as well, but so far, he has been only decent, where he is exceptional in the longest format. There is some evidence that Sarfraz needs a little time at the crease before he unfurls his scything cuts and whiplash sweeps, as he averages over 40 batting in the top three. He has been sent back down the order more recently though, and if Pakistan lose quick wickets on a lively pitch, it may be down to Sarfraz to transform the outlook of his team's innings, as he often has in Tests.

Teams news

Ross Taylor, Tim Southee and Brendon McCullum are all unavailable with injury, giving the likes of Tom Latham, Colin Munro and Henry Nicholls the opportunity to show their ODI wares. Latham will likely open, but Munro and Nicholls may be competing for one middle-order place.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Tom Latham, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Kane Williamson (capt.), 4 Colin Munro, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 Luke Ronchi (wk), 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Adam Milne, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Trent Boult

It is conceivable that Pakistan's frontline attack will be composed entirely of left-armers - with Imad Wasim likeliest to play out of the spinners. Babar Azam, Sohaib Maqsood and Mohammad Rizwan are probably competing for two middle-order spots.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Azhar Ali (capt.), 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Babar Azam/ Sohaib Maqsood, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Mohammad Rizwan, 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 8 Imad Wasim, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Mohammad Amir, 11 Mohammad Irfan

Pitch and conditions

This match will be the first ODI at the Basin Reserve since 2005, so average scores at the venue can only say so much. Grant Elliott felt the surface was hard, and should have a bit of pace and bounce. Overhead conditions may be conducive to swing bowling, with cloud forecast for parts of the day - though they are not expected to bring rain.

Stats and trivia

  • Azhar Ali has averaged 45.58 and struck at 84 since becoming ODI captain last year. Both those figures are better than his overall average.
  • In 18 matches at the helm so far, Kane Williamson's average also improves - to 56.43. His strike rate of 81 is slightly lower than his overall figure however.
  • The one-dayer between Australia and New Zealand at the Basin Reserve in 2005 is the only ODI that has been played at the venue this century.


"Speaking to everyone that's going to the game, around the city, they're all excited to have a one-dayer at the Basin Reserve. I think it's one of the best venues in the world, so to get a capacity crowd out here tomorrow will be fantastic for the guys."
New Zealand allrounder Grant Elliott on the prospect of playing the first ODI at the Basin Reserve in over 10 years

"The wicket looks quite hard and the wind factor is there, so we'll try and figure out a combination that will suit these conditions."
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. @andrewffernando

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • asad on January 24, 2016, 20:15 GMT

    Personally, I'd say that the rankings have NZ a bit underrated. They're at 4 now but I think only Oz & SA are better than them so they should be at 3. On the other hand Pakistan is a genuine no. 8 team right now & its not just cuz of the rebuilding phase, even our experienced batsmen aren't consistent enough. I'm expecting Pakistan to lose this series but any win here against a tough NZ will be a huge positive. From this series I'm really just hoping for a few good knocks from Azhar, Rizwan & Sarfraz but more importantly, I want Babar to score big this series & showcase his talent. Personally I think that either Babar or Haris, if handled properly, have the ability to become Pakistan's premier young batsman who hopefully ends up in the league of Williamson, Root & Smith (or atleast close).

  • Khurram S Chaudhry on January 24, 2016, 19:12 GMT

    according to media, malik is unfit so i think better to play Zafar with anwar . shafiq might not be that good and needed extra bowling option

  • Atif on January 24, 2016, 18:13 GMT

    Problem with Pakistan is batting line which needed discussion training and improvement but unfortunately pcb pak media is concentrating on Amir inclusion was correct or not.

    Majority of people thinks that if team have Bowlers like Amir, any score can be defended. Its 2016. Cricket have changed. Bowler cant win the cup or series. Some matches maybe. Its not the 90's or 2013 England WC. Even in Australia 2015 WC and 2016 Ind Aus series was high scoring. Cricket have changed. People come to watch 6 and 4 not maiden overs. The best tactics is to have solid high scoring batsman. Each innings 2 out of top 5 should score 75+ then Even with above average bowlers, scores can be defended. I will also add here the fielding also is not playing any major role. Those days are gone when fielders win matches

  • MOHAMMED on January 24, 2016, 17:14 GMT

    All matches will be one sided like last 2 T20 matches and New Zealand will hammer Pakistan. There will be Humiliating defeats for Pakistan on ODI also.

  • MOHAMMED on January 24, 2016, 17:11 GMT

    Even the second string New Zealand side can beat Pakistan easily. This is the present state of affairs in ODI for Pakistan. Whitewash is on cards surely. This Pakistan side is just better than Zimbabwe and worst than Bangladesh.

  •   Sharjeel Khan Mansoori on January 24, 2016, 16:37 GMT

    pakistan has not produced quality player since yusaf younis and salman butt. hafeez misbah shafiq azhar and shehzad are all mediocre ODIplayers .I think even kamran akmal is better batsman than the current lot if pak need some sanity in ODI format they should bring back salman butt kamran akmal and asif as soon as possible to bolster their ranking otherwise we may taste 10th position in history

  • Viraj on January 24, 2016, 13:21 GMT

    1 Azhar Ali (capt.), 2 Mohammad Hafeez 3 Asad Shafiq, 4 Babar Azam, 5 Shoaib Malik, 6 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk) 7 Imad Wasim, 8 Anwar Ali, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Mohammad Amir, 11 Mohammad Irfan

    The problem for Pakistan is top 4 like Sri Lanka, Both teams don`t have the players to last 30-35 overs consistently so they put lot of pressure on the 5 and 6 and their all rounders. If these jokers play this will be the last time you see them in international shorter forms Ahmed Shehzad, ,Sohaib Maqsood, Mohammad Rizwan, There is no way these player score 2 fifties in 3 games. NO WAY against quality bowling attack. Both Sri Lanka and Pakistan in trouble in that T 20 world cup. They really need find quality players for top 4 soon.

  • taahir on January 24, 2016, 11:48 GMT

    Anwar Ali and Sohaib Maqsood should never be allowed the Pakistan cricket team ever again. Both genuinely awful players. Yamin and Hammad Azam better than Anwar. literally anyone is better than Maqsood

  • HI on January 24, 2016, 10:01 GMT

    Nieuw Zeeland will start as favourites si it is important that Pakistan rethink their strategy. They ought to overhaul their batting line up by introducing some new players like Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam and Zafar Gohar. Shafiq will do splendidly as he is in form and will cash in on his selection in the squad. Babar Azam could play a good lower middle order innings if given the chance while Zafar Gohar must supply wickets with Shoaib Malik and runs too. His slow left arm will be much better spinning deliveries than Imad Wasim, who was poor in the T20i's. Anwar Ali as a fast right arm bowler ought to be included. Rahat Ali should play with seaming and swinging conditions. Amir should show now his abilities, if he fails this series, he must then return to first class cricket to practice. Open the batting with Sarfraz, remember the World Cup ? Pakistan ODI XI: Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed, Azhar Ali (c), Asad Shafiq, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Zafar Gohar, Anwar Ali, Amir, Rahat, Irfan

  • Mohidin on January 24, 2016, 9:51 GMT

    Same old faces, all tried and tested so no reason to expect any different outcomes against a very professional team.

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