sarfraz ahmed
Sarfraz Ahmed (AFP Photo)

Pakistan have lost 11 of their past ODI encounters against New Zealand. The streak stretches back to 3-2 defeat to them in 2014 in the United Arab Emirates. However, Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed is banking on his team’s excellent run in the T20Is and hopes that the winning momentum will carry them to victory in the ODI series that starts from Wednesday.

Pakistan and New Zealand will face-off in the first ODI of a three-match series in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

“It’s important to break that losing streak and we need to bring improvement in our performance in one-day internationals,” Sarfraz was quoted as saying by AFP on Tuesday. “If you look at our losses most of them were in New Zealand where conditions were different and we lost due to top order failure where we need to improve.”

He continued, “New Zealand is a good team of this format but we have momentum of the Twenty20 series so we must win this series and that will help towards building towards the World Cup.”

Pakistan are coming on the back of back-to-back series clean sweep of Australia (3-0) and New Zealand (3-0) which has solidified their position as the top-ranked T20I side in the world. However, their ODI form hasn’t been that impressive. They bowed out of the Asia Cup after twice losing to India and then to Bangladesh in a virtual semi-final at the 2018 Asia Cup in the UAE.

Pakistan were troubled by batting failures, especially of their top-order batsmen, a fact Sarfraz acknowledges. “We have been performing well in the bowling, but it is our batting department that needs some fine tuning in ODIs. Especially, our top-order. Our struggle starts from there as we tend to lose early wickets and then fail to make a comeback in the match.

“Even if we do so, then we post 240-250 which is not good enough while playing against good sides. We have talked to our top-order batsmen regarding this that we need them to spend time on the wicket and set up platform for the rest of the batting lineup,” he was quoted as saying by Cricbuzz.

The second ODI of the series will be played on Friday in Abu Dhabi followed by the third and final in Dubai on Sunday.