New Zealand v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Auckland January 30, 2016

Pakistan hope for feel-good Auckland vibe


Match facts

January 31, 2016
Start time 1100 local (1000 GMT)

Martin Guptill is a doubtful starter after rolling his ankle during training on the eve of the match © AFP

Big Picture

This tour ending where it began - in Auckland - may lead to good vibes taking hold in the Pakistan camp. They have been outclassed so far, but their solitary win of the trip came at Eden Park. Their previous ODI at the venue also brought success, as they defended 222 against South Africa during the World Cup. New Zealand have been so consistent it is hard to imagine this - but could a long, rain-affected break between ODIs also snap the hosts' momentum? Pakistan can no longer win the series, but they may not have minded a few extra days to recover from that rough loss at the Basin Reserve.

For a touring team, Pakistan seem to be well-versed in the peculiarities of this unique rugby-cricket venue. In the T20 they played here, the batsmen did not seem over-eager to clear those short boundaries, as visitors in the past have been. Pakistan's bowlers also delivered the slightly shorter lengths that New Zealand have used to great success there.

The hosts are searching for a final fillip before they dive into the most anticipated tour of their home summer. Members of Australia's ODI team have already arrived in the country, and the attention of the fans and media is beginning to turn in that direction. Another victory at Eden Park will mean New Zealand have won every home series they have played since October 2014, in all formats, further embellishing the aura that has developed around the team.

They may, however, have to contend with the absence of Martin Guptill for this match. Guptill rolled his ankle during training on the eve of the game, and is said to be a 50-50 chance to play.

Form guide

(last five completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand: WWLWW
Pakistan: LLLLW

In the spotlight

Brendon McCullum should be back at the helm, and the top of the order, after recovering from the back injury aggravated by his kamikaze dive into advertising hoardings. In the home stretch of his career now, McCullum will be aiming to give New Zealand fans a few more manic innings by which to remember him.

In eight ODI innings, Babar Azam has crossed fifty four times. He was the best of Pakistan's batsmen in the first ODI, hitting the short balls confidently on a quick pitch, and building sagely alongside Mohammad Hafeez after the openers had gone cheaply. New Zealand will have studied him and formulated fresh plans in the days since, but Babar's record so far - including in domestic cricket - suggests he is a player with promise.

Team news

If Guptill is unfit, Tom Latham will have the chance to open the batting. Four seamers are competing for three spots, and Doug Bracewell seems likeliest to miss out.

New Zealand (probable): 1 Martin Guptill/Tom Latham, 2 Brendon McCullum (capt.), 3 Kane Williamson, 4 Henry Nicholls, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 Corey Anderson, 7 BJ Watling (wk), 8 Mitchell Santner, 9 Adam Milne, 10 Matt Henry, 11 Trent Boult

Pakistan had said Shoaib Malik had recovered from injury, but there appears to be fresh doubt about him ahead of this match. Sohaib Maqsood seems likeliest to make way for Malik's return.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Azhar Ali (capt.), 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 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

Pitch and conditions

Auckland has had excellent weather for most of the week, but the forecast has worsened significantly, just as cricket arrives in the city. The met service suggests the morning will be dry, but that showers could begin in the early afternoon. There can be movement in the air at Eden Park, but the drop-in pitch is generally good for batting.

Stats and trivia

  • McCullum has hit four half centuries and a 47 in his seven most recent innings at Eden Park. He averages 44.85 there in that time.
  • At home, New Zealand have won 26 matches and lost only four, across formats, since November 2014.
  • The first ODI was the first time in seven matches that Wahab Riaz bowled in a New Zealand ODI and failed to claim a wicket.


"History suggests that teams have looked at what's a par score and probably added a few more. I think with sides that travel here for the first time, it's quite nice to bowl, because they don't know what's a good score and can go a bit too hard."

New Zealand coach Mike Hesson on the propensity for touring teams to shoot too high at Eden Park.

"Against England as well last series, Babar Azam played really well. In the game in Wellington, in different conditions, he was again playing very fluently, and with a lot of confidence. That's a very good sign for us."

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali on Azam's good stretch of results.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Nazar on February 1, 2016, 5:27 GMT

    BD has improved but it will be interesting to see how they will perform outside BD, because they have won all the recent series on their own soil. Pakistan not having cricket on home ground and also not much tours outside.

  •   Ñïšãr Mäñzõör on January 31, 2016, 14:17 GMT

    Loving someone never gives you the right to control them. You cant force them to love you the way you want.

  •   Mairaj Haider on January 31, 2016, 6:47 GMT

    Patterson was out! New Zealand knows it. This country has lost my respect.

    Or can anyone correct me here? But I clearly saw and heard the commentator and saw Patterson's guilt-ridden face!

  • Mohammad on January 31, 2016, 3:23 GMT

    So far the Kiwis seem well in control of this match. I think Pak were about 30 runs short, they had a long tail and this put too much pressure of Sarfraz. Even so I think Pakistan has done a wonderful display of fast bowling so far, Aamir is clearly going on to be a great bowler and Wahab Riaz is really aggressive and fast. Great fun to watch but the Kiwis are just really good players of fast bowling, maybe the best in the world and I include the Aussies. If they were playing against a sub continent team in Eden Park they would be running rings around them.

  • Usman Amjad on January 30, 2016, 21:44 GMT

    I think pak must lose this game beczn Azhar Ali not for ODIs player Safaraz or malik be next cap but after this lose hope Azhar Ali out in ODis

  • Mark on January 30, 2016, 21:24 GMT

    @BlackCapsBestintheWorld: Your last statement is generalised nonsense. 5 of the ICC top 10 ranked ODI batsmen and 6 of the top 10 bowlers are aged from 30-39 years. Another 2 turn 30 this year. And that doesn't include the likes of McCullum and Dhoni who are having a huge impact on the game. There are also plenty of older recently retired players (e.g Chanderpaul, Sangakarra & Jayawardena) who could run rings around those who have filled their spots. Some teams are suffering as a result of their absence. The issue is always the ability, cricketing nous, temperament and personal work ethic of the player - regardless of age. The bigger picture is things like whether countries have good succession plans, are new players being properly coached and mentored and brought through? is selection based on merit, provincial or player bias, are there blanket rules like age etc? Generalised comments like yours are not only incorrect - they mask the real issues.

  • Aqib on January 30, 2016, 20:17 GMT

    Why are people comparing Pakistan to srilanka. They lost Sanga and mahela.. No malinga, Senanayake, mendis and a few others. If we are going to compare our performances to this srilanka side then yes we have done well but we really should be looking at these series as winnable. Playing players out of position is. Becoming a joke now. Azhar Ali is not a one day batman. He cannot play aggressive cricket without slogging. Babar Azam is an opener, as is hafeez. Why are they playing 3,4. I cannot understand.

  • ousman on January 30, 2016, 20:04 GMT

    @dramit_singh nice to hear that lad. Thanks for ur support.from pakistani fan!

  • Siju on January 30, 2016, 19:49 GMT

    @redbacks LOL. Thrashed by 10 wickets and 95 runs in t20's. Beaten by 70 runs in the first odi. If winning one t20 and getting convincingly beaten in all the other matches are playing good cricket then you've got it spot on.

  • AbuZar on January 30, 2016, 19:43 GMT

    Pakistan needs to work hard. Pakistan team wins one match and they start thinking they are superstars. What happens next is that they loose the next 5 games. This is highly nonprofessional. Pakistan team need to bow their heads down, don't think they are superstars, keep working hard even if they win. This is the only way they can win consistently. The team is good but need to think sensibly.

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