Pak­istan aim to break ODI jinx against Ki­wis

Gulf Times Sport - - CRICKET -

Pak­istan cap­tain Sar­fraz Ahmed in­sists his team can end an 11-match los­ing run to New Zealand when the two sides meet in the first one-day in­ter­na­tional in Abu Dhabi to­day.

Pak­istan crushed New Zealand 3-0 in the pre­ced­ing Twenty20 se­ries on Sun­day — their sec­ond white­wash in a week fol­low­ing a romp over Aus­tralia, also in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

But Sar­fraz, part of the team in the last 11 one-day internationals all of which Pak­istan lost, want to fi­nally win against New Zealand.

“It’s im­por­tant to break that los­ing streak and we need to bring im­prove­ment in our per­for­mance in one-day internationals,” said Sar­fraz yes­ter­day.

Pak­istan lost the last two matches in a 3-2 se­ries de­feat in United Arab Emirates (UAE) in 2014, be­fore los­ing 2-0 in 2015, 2-0 in 2016 and 5-0 in Jan­uary 2018 — all in New Zealand.

“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,” said Sar­fraz.

Pak­istan also failed to qual­ify for the fi­nal of the Asia Cup held in UAE two months ago, los­ing both their matches against arch-ri­vals In­dia and go­ing down to Bangladesh in a clash which de­cided the fi­nal­ist.

In­dia won the Asia Cup by beat­ing Bangladesh.

Sar­fraz said a tough op­po­nent in New Zealand — ranked third to Pak­istan’s fifth in one-day stand­ings — will help the team build for next year’s World Cup in Eng­land.

“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,” said Sar­fraz.

The last two matches are in Abu Dhabi (Fri­day) and in Dubai (Sun­day).

Pak­istan then play South Africa in South Africa, Aus­tralia (in UAE) and Eng­land in Eng­land — five one­day internationals each — be­fore the World Cup.

New Zealand skip­per Kane Williamson played down the win­ning streak against Pak­istan, say­ing it will be a new se­ries.

“It’s a new se­ries and a fresh start,” said Williamson. “I guess it’s a nice statis­tic to have but at the end of the day, come to­mor­row, its a new se­ries.” Williamson praised Pak­istan as a lim­ited over side.

“They are al­ways a strong side and no mat­ter the for­mat,” said Williamson. “They have a lot of depth. We sim­ply know they have been here for some time and they know th­ese con­di­tions and they have had lots of suc­cess.

“We are in here for a tough bat­tle.” New Zealand will wel­come pace spearhead Trent Boult who missed the Twenty20 se­ries due to per­sonal rea­sons while also adding bats­man Ge­orge Worker and spin­ner Ajaz Pa­tel (as a cover for in­jured Todd As­tle) in the squad.

Teams (from): New Zealand: Kane Williamson (cap­tain), Todd As­tle, Trent Boult, Colin de Grand­homme, Lockie Fer­gu­son, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Henry Ni­cholls, Ajaz Pa­tel, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling, Ge­orge Worker

Pak­istan: Sar­fraz Ahmed (capt), Fakhar Za­man, Imam-ul-Haq, Mo­ham­mad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Shoaib Ma­lik, Asif Ali, Haris So­hail, Shadab Khan, Fa­heem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Ju­naid Khan, Sha­heen Afridi, Us­man Khan Shin­wari Um­pires: Joe Wil­son (WIS) and Shozab Raza (PAK)

The Pak­ista­nis have been in great form in the T20 for­mat but face a tougher chal­lenge when they clash with the Ki­wis in an ODI se­ries.

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