Written by Darry Worthington for @Hollywoodbets. Follow them both on Twitter and Facebook now!
New Zealand v Pakistan | 1st ODI | Basin Reserve |Sunday 24 January | 23:30
After an enthralling three-match T20 series, that saw records fall like dominos, New Zealand and Pakistan will now turn their attention to the 50-over stuff. For the hosts, the three match ODI series represents a chance for them to reaffirm their dominance at home. While for the tourists, the three matches will offer a shot at redemption after they were annihilated by the Black Caps in the last two T20s
To Win Match
New Zealand 4/10
The Black Caps come into this segment of their bi-lateral series in fine form – particularly their batting line up. Openers Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill have been belligerent with willow in hand. The duo put on a record-breaking first wicket stand in the second T20 at Seddon Park. Their 171 opening partnership ensured New Zealand would level the series with a game to play.
While Williamson and Guptill managed decent knocks in the third and final T20 – Williamson scored 33 off 34 balls and Guptill scored 42 off 19 – the star of the show was Corey Anderson. The burly left-hander hit four sixes and six fours on his to an unbeaten 82. His 52 ball innings would help New Zealand close out their innings on 196 for five. New Zealand’s bowlers were just as lethal as their batsmen in the decider. Adam Milne and Grant Elliot picked up three wickets each while Corey Anderson secured his man of the match award by claiming two sticks.
The Kiwi’s will now look to repeat the trick in the first ODI and I would certainly not bet against them doing this. They have the most in form limited overs opening pair in world cricket at the moment, and when you factor in the likes of Corey Anderson, the returning Nathan McCullum, as well as Ross Taylor, you have a batting order that is capable of tearing apart even the most in-form bowling attack apart.
This is going to be an uphill battle for the Pakistanis. Not only are they coming into this series off the back of two successive T20 defeats but they will also lose their talisman manic T20 skipper Shahid Afridi. The man affectionately known as Boom Boom, retired from ODI cricket last year. His ability to clear the boundary ropes and restrict opposition scoring rates with ball in hand will be sorely missed.
It’s not all doom and gloom for the men in green though, as giant left-arm seamer Mohammad Irfan will join up with the squad. His ability to get a bit of movement through the air and off the deck will be vital for the Pakistani’s, whose bowlers have struggled to adapt to the quicker New Zealand decks.
While Irfan's return is a massive boost for Waqar Younis’ side, they’re still going to need their batsmen to step up to the mark. There’s no point in having one of the world’s most devastating pace bowlers in your side if you’re not going to set a defendable score.
With Afridi heading back home, a lot of the pressure is going to fall squarely on Mohamed Hafeez and Shoaib Malik. Neither of the two really set the world alight during the T20 series – although Malik did score 61 in the first T20. If either of these men can stay in for the majority of Pakistan’s batting innings, then the men in green may have a chance of starting the ODI segment of the bi-lateral series off with a win.
The Basin Reserve, or as it known by the locals The Basin, is quite the stadium. It’s one of the only sports grounds in the world to be given heritage status by a national government. Like most grounds in New Zealand, The Basin is a spectator friendly venue. The actual playing field is surrounded by grass banks which are backdropped by the spectacular Cook and Victoria Mountains.
The deck is traditionally bowler friendly, which is to be expected as the venue is mainly used to host Test cricket. And with the local weather bureau predicting overcast conditions, the New Zealand pace attack should be able to cause the Pakistanis a lot of trouble at the top of the innings.
It’s been over a decade since the last ODI was played at the ground. So we don’t have much in way of recent statistics to go on. However, I suspect the bowlers are going to have a lot more fun playing here than the batsmen.
Verdict: A Hundred to be Scored in The Match 7/10
New Zealand should canter to a victory here. But with the price rather short at 4/10, I’d recommend backing the hundred to be scored market- yes at 7/10.
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