Misbah-Ul-Haq will return to lead Pakistan in the One-Day leg of their series against New Zealand
Misbah-Ul-Haq will return to lead Pakistan in the One-Day leg of their series against New Zealand

By Ayush Gupta

Dec 7, 2014

After a keenly contested Test series which ended in a 1-1 draw coupled with two Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) mirroring the Test  results,  Pakistan and New Zealand will slug it out in the One-Day International (ODI) leg of the tour, with the first match at Dubai on Monday. It would be interesting to see what mindset both the teams go into the ODIs with, as it would be a good build up to the World Cup scheduled to get underway from February next year in Australia and New Zealand.

Before the commencement of the ODIs , there are a few takeaways for both sides, from the Test series as well as the T20Is . As for Pakistan, the biggest positive was their strong batting performance with the likes of Mohammad Hafeez and Younis Khan scoring 418 and 249 runs respectively with an average of 139.33 and 49.80. The addition of veteran Younis to the ODI squad should hold the hosts in good stead. Younis had been snubbed by the selectors earlier in the year, but his prolific run in Test cricket compelled them to bring him back. On the bowling front , Zulfiqar Babar stood out, claiming 13 wickets over the course of the three Tests.  The hosts would hope for an encore from these men in the ODIs as well. Although, Hafeez’s ban on bowling, after he was reported for a suspect bowling action for a second time is likely to affect the dynamics of Pakistan’s team composition to a fair degree.

New Zealand on the other hand had plenty of positives to emerge  from the batting department with both Tom Latham and Kane Williamson, shining and scoring 282 and 262 runs respectively with an average of 56.40 and 52.20 each. Thus, these men will hold the key to New Zealand’s chances in the ODIs.

The T20Is were dominated by the likes of Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Luke Ronchi, and Kyle Mills, each of whom made a significant contribution to their teams cause. ODIs are a different kettle of fish, which demand the application of uniquely different skill sets as compared to the other formats. They are bound to throw up some interesting new faces considering both teams will endeavour to finalise their combination in run up to the World Cup in two months time.

Pakistan have had a parched run of form in the 50-over format, suffering abject losses against Australia in the UAE and Sri Lanka in Sri Lanka before that, Misbah_Ul-Haq will want his team to correct that and end the year on a high. New Zealand have had a largely successful year in One-Day cricket, except a minor blip occurring against South Africa at home. However series wins in the subcontinent have eluded them in the past, this is an ideal opportunity for them to set the record straight. .

Squads:

Pakistan: Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Bilawal Bhatti, Haris Sohail, Misbah-ul-Haq (c), Mohammad Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Younis Khan and Zulfiqar Babar.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (c), Corey Anderson, Dean Brownlie, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Ross Taylor and Daniel Vettori.

Time:  15.00 (UAE) | 11.00 (GMT) | 16.30 (IST)

(Ayush Gupta is a reporter at CricketCountry. A passionate supporter of Manchester United, he idolises Roger Federer)