Pak­istan ready to make changes

The Timaru Herald - - SPORT -

Don’t be sur­prised if Pak­istan make a bunch of changes to their play­ing XI for tomorrow’s fourth ODI against New Zealand.

Fresh from Satur­day’s 183-run an­ni­hi­la­tion by the Black Caps, cap­tain Safraz Ahmed in­di­cated changes are on the cards for the fi­nal two matches of the lost series.

Ahmed cut a for­lorn fig­ure af­ter his team’s em­bar­rass­ing de­feat in Dunedin on Satur­day, as the shell-shocked skip­per at­tempted to ex­plain what on earth had just gone down.

Con­sid­er­ing he bat­ted 63 min­utes for his un­beaten 14 from 28, and stood at the non­striker’s end and watched many of his team­mates come and go in a piti­ful bat­ting dis- play, he had a close-up view of much of the de­ba­cle.

‘‘It’s very dis­ap­point­ing,’’ Ahmed said af­ter his team folded for 74. ‘‘Af­ter the first in­nings, our bowlers did the job for us, but again the bat­ting is not click­ing.

‘‘We gift so many wick­ets and that’s why we lost the match.’’

‘‘First of all, the credit goes to them, they bowled re­ally well.

‘‘We worked re­ally, re­ally hard in the nets when we ar­rived here in Dunedin. So we had two good prac­tice days but we’re not per­form­ing on the ground.’’

Pak­istan’s top five com­bined for just 13 runs in the third loss of the series, and seven batsmen failed to crack dou­ble­fig­ures. Dead and buried in the five-match series with two matches to play – in Hamil­ton tomorrow and Welling­ton on Fri­day – Pak­istan will need to dig deep to salvage any­thing from what’s so far been a dis­as­trous tour.

Ahmed said the team would come up with a plan of attack for the fi­nal two games.

If the vis­i­tors think for a mo­ment New Zealand are go­ing to but­ton off and rest some bod­ies, they’re most prob­a­bly mis­taken.

Black Caps bowler Trent Boult, who de­stroyed their top or­der and fin­ished with 5-17 at the Uni­ver­sity Oval, in­di­cated a string of changes are un­likely for the two dead rub­ber games.

How­ever, it’s likely New Zealand coach Mike Hes­son will give all-rounder Colin de Grand­homme the nod, pos­si­bly at Sed­don Park tomorrow.

De Grand­homme was back with the team in Dunedin af­ter the sud­den death of his father in Zim­babwe last month but didn’t make the play­ing XI on a low and slow wicket.

Bats­man Ross Tay­lor, fresh from strik­ing his 40th ODI half cen­tury, is set to be­come the sev­enth Black Cap to play at least 200 ODIs.

Tay­lor will join Daniel Vet­tori (295), Stephen Flem­ming (280), Bren­don Mc­Cul­lum (260), Chris Har­ris (250), Nathan As­tle (223) and Chris Cairns (214) on the list with 200-plus ap­pear­ances.

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