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Cricket: One-dayers a chance to separate sides

Rounding out a long tour for the New Zealand cricket team is a five match ODI series in which both sides will continue to look for World Cup momentum.  Especially for Pakistan, this series is the best opportunity to tinker with line-ups and settle on a game plan that will transfer easily to the pitches and grounds of NZ.  One of the tactics will be the continue used of wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed at the top of the order.  Since the days of Kamran Akmal, Pakistan are used to their keeper taking up a spot in the top three, and if Sarfraz’s T20 form is anything to go by, this could be a permanent spot for the destructive right hander.

The Last Time These Two Met

The Test and T20 series’ between the two have been drawn so fans will be hoping for something a little more decisive in the one day series.  In both formats NZ have fallen behind after game one only to rest initiative back in subsequent matches.  Bookmaker.com have understandably listed Pakistan as favourites.

The Teams

New Zealand (likely): 1 Anton Devcich, 2 Kane Williamson (capt), 3 Dean Brownlie, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Tom Latham, 6 Luke Ronchi (wk), 7 James Neesham, 8 Daniel Vettori, 9 Adam Milne/Nathan McCullum, 10 and 11 Matt Henry/Kyle Mills/Mitchell McClenaghan

Martin Guptil is unavailable for the Black Caps.  Corey Anderson will be assessed closer to game time, and I’ve bracketed every bowler in the squad because of the wealth of options available to the NZ selection panel.

Pakistan (likely): 1 Ahmed Shehzad, 2 Mohammad Hafeez, 3 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk) , 4 Younis Khan, 5 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Shahid Afridi, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Zulfiqar Babar, 11 Mohammad Irfan

Umar Gul could play his first one day international cricket since March after a strong showing in the second T20 contest.

The Key Players

Ross Taylor – Aside from some strong performances for Royal Challengers Bangalore in early IPL editions, Taylor has struggled for T20 cricket runs.  He is much more comfortable in the one day game where he can pace himself and anchor an innings, so will look fondly upon the start of the one day series.  After just one notable innings in the test series and two failures in the T20 series NZ will be looking to their former captain for big runs.  He’s paying $4.50 to top score.

Mohammad Hafeez – How Hafeez deals with a bowling ban makes for an interesting aside to the series opener.  The all-rounder has been handed down a suspension until he remedies his action, and despite not considering himself much of a bowler, he will still need to ensure he’s in the right head space to continue to make runs at the top of the order.  Despite the potentially impairment, Bookmaker.com.au has him at

The Odds*

Pakistan – $1.53

New Zealand– $2.50

*International Cricket odds courtesy of Bookmaker.com.au.

The Prediction

It’s very hard to look past Pakistan.  They are loving a game one win against the Black Caps.  But if I was feeling lucky I would have a cheeky bet on New Zealand winning the series at $3.25.

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