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PAK vs NZ, 1st ODI – Fantasy Preview and MPL Top Picks

Match: Pakistan vs New Zealand, (PAK vs NZ, 1st ODI)

Date: September 17, 2021 

Venue: Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi 

Where and what time to watch the match live in India 

For those in India, the Pakistan vs New Zealand series will be covered by Sony Pictures Network. The first One-Day International will be broadcasted live on Sony Six and Sony Six HD at 2:30 PM IST. You can also stream the match live on Sony Liv application. 

PAK vs NZ, 1st ODI – What to expect: 

New Zealand’s tour of Pakistan will comprise three ODIs and five T20 internationals. The tour will kick off with the first ODI match at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Friday, September 17. 

Pakistan defeated South Africa by 2-1 earlier this year followed by a 0-3 hammering at the hands of England. New Zealand have only played one ODI series since the resumption of sports after Covid-19 break, which they won comprehensively against Bangladesh by 3-0. This series will not be a part of the ICC CWC Super League due to the unavailability of DRS technology, which allows both the teams to experiment and try out new players without worrying too much about results. 

Pitch Report of PAK vs NZ, 1st ODI: 

The pitches at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium in Pakistan aren’t known to be batting friendly. Bowlers are expected to get some assistance. The average first innings score in 24 ODIs played at the venue reads 236. The highest batting first total at the ground was 329/6 by Pakistan while the lowest of 104 was by Zimbabwe. Cricket returned to Rawalpindi after a gap of 14 years. Pakistan hosted Zimbabwe in a three-match series at Rawalpindi last year, where batting first scores read 281/8, 206/10 and 278/6. 

Pakistan, Expected XI and Team News 

Pakistan have announced a 20-member squad for the New Zealand series. They have called up wicket-keeper batter Mohammad Haris and leg-spinner Zahid Mahmood. Pace bowlers Mohammad Wasim Jr and Shahnawaz Dahani, who were impressive in the PSL 2021, also received call-ups. Khushdil Shah and Iftikhar Ahmed also return to the side. Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmad, Sohaib Maqsood and Salman Ali Agha were left out of the team. 

Probable XI – Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Saud Shakeel, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf, Usman Qadir 

New Zealand, Expected XI and Team News 

New Zealand are touring with their second string squad to Pakistan like they did to Bangladesh earlier. Tom Latham is leading the team with plenty of inexperienced players such as Finn Allen, Will Young, Rachin Ravindra and Cole McConchie. The experienced guys like Colin de Grandhomme, Henry Nicholls, Matt Henry are also on this tour and will play a key role in the ODI leg. 

Probable XI – Finn Allen, Rachin Ravindra, Will Young, Tom Latham (captain/wk), Henry Nicholls, Colin de Grandhomme, Scott Kuggeleijn, Cole McConchie, Hamish Bennett, Ajaz Patel, Matt Henry 

Head to head record of PAK vs NZ 

New Zealand and Pakistan have enjoyed a very healthy rivalry in the history of the One-Day format. They’ve faced each other on 107 occasions, out of which, Pakistan have won 55 while NZ claimed 48 matches. Both the teams have won two games each in the last five meetings. 

Pakistan – 55 

New Zealand – 48 

Tied – 1 

No Result – 3 

1st ODI: Five players to watch out for in the Pakistan vs New Zealand match

Here we take a look at the key players to watch out for in the first ODI match:

Babar Azam: Batter, Pakistan (Credits – 10) 

Little needs to say about Babar Azam, one of the best all-format batters in world cricket. The right hand batter is blessed with classical stroke play with magnificent timing. Azam has terrific numbers in this format, having scored 3985 runs in 81 innings at an exceptional average of 57 and strike rate of 90. He has 14 hundreds and 17 fifties to his name, with the best of 158 which came in his last ODI innings against England. Babar Azam has scored 405 runs in six innings this year averaging 67.5 at a strike rate of 108. 

Tom Latham: Batter, New Zealand (Credits – 9.5) 

Tom Latham is one of the key players in New Zealand’s ODI setup. The left hander has good numbers in the format, having scored 2824 runs in 94 innings at an average of 34 and strike rate of 84, including five centuries and 16 half centuries. He has been in magnificent form, scoring 388 runs in the last 10 matches at an average of 55 and strike rate of 95. He scored two fifties in the recently concluded T20I series on difficult batting decks. The interim skipper will be their key player. 

Fakhar Zaman: Batter, Pakistan (Credits – 9) 

Fakhar Zaman is amongst the best ODI opening batters in the world. The left hand batter has carved himself a terrific career in this format. Fakhar has scored 2325 runs in 53 ODI matches at a magnificent average of 47 while striking at 95. He has registered six hundreds and 14 fifties, with the best of 210*. Zaman has been in superb form, scoring 443 runs in the last eight outings at a fantastic average of 55 with strike rate of 90. 

Matt Henry: Bowler, New Zealand (Credits – 9)

The right arm pacer has often gone unnoticed due to the presence of Trent Boult and Tim Southee in the NZ unit. Matt Henry has had an impressive career in the fifty overs format. Henry has picked 98 wickets in just 53 innings at an average of 25.89 runs a piece. He has two 5-fers and eight 4-fers to his name with the best of 5/30. Henry has taken 12 wickets in his last six games at a superb economy of 3.93. 

Shaheen Shah Afridi: Bowler, Pakistan (Credits – 9) 

The left arm pacer is widely recognised as one of the best limited overs pacers in the world. Shaheen Shah Afridi has a wide range of skill set as a pacer, making him a great threat. He has had an incredible start to his career, having picked 53 wickets in only 28 matches at an average of 24.62 runs per wicket. He has two 5-fers and four 4-fers to his name, with best of 6/35. Shaheen has taken 13 scalps in his last nine games at an economy of 5.55. 

MPL Fantasy XI 

Note: The players recommended here need not be a part of the Playing 11 on game day. Users are advised to do their own research also and follow official sources and create their teams.

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