New Zealand v Pakistan: Third ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We preview the third ODI of the five-match series between New Zealand and Pakistan which is set to be played at the University Oval in Dunedin on Saturday 13 January. 

A relatively unchanged New Zealand squad will look to continue a lengthy ODI winning streak at home - against opposition increasingly under pressure to justify their status as Champions Trophy title holders.

A win in Dunedin will seal an unassailable series lead for the hosts - and leave the tourists with the hefty challenge of avoiding a whitewash in the two matches to follow.

New Zealand v Pakistan | Saturday, 13 January | University Oval, Dunedin | 0:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 36/100 | Tie 35/1 | Pakistan 9/4

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New Zealand
The Black Caps have made just one change to their squad for the rest of the five-match series, returning all-rounder Colin de Grandhomme to the fold and sending George Worker back to domestic cricket. De Grandhomme, of course, offers more with the ball than Worker.

Whether or not de Grandhomme forces his way back into the XI or not yet remains in the balance. He could replace Todd Astle or Mitchell Santner, but the Kiwis might not want to break up their spin duo despite the potential to bolstering their batting ranks.

Martin Guptill's big half-century in the second ODI was a considerable boost for the team and the individual, restoring faith in the opening combination for the former and confidence for the latter. He will want this to continue in Dunedin.

New Zealand have not lost an ODI at the University Oval in five attempts, but having faced only Zimbabwe, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Scotland at this ground, will take on arguably their strongest opposition there yet.

The wet weather that interfered with the second match should steer clear of Dunedin, provided the showers predicted for next week don't arrive a couple of days early, like they did in Nelson earlier this week.

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Pakistan
Unable to restrict the dominant Kane Williamson in the series opener, Pakistan will take heart from their ability to burden the Kiwi captain with plenty of dot balls in the second fixture. Mohammad Amir's economy was key then - and must strike again.

Sarfraz Ahmed's insistence that his team lost too many wickets up front and that the lower order needs to perform better, indeed, shows that Pakistan need a significantly improved batting performance all around.

They're going to have to reconsider their opening batsman. The selectors were tempted not to recall Azhar Ali, but they did - and he is not repaying the faith. Dropping him and pairing up Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman at the top of the order seems the way forward.

They will be on a mission to spoil the home side's attempt at a record stretch of victories across all formats. Test, ODI and T20I clean sweeps over the West Indies - and the recent wins over Pakistan - have the Black Caps on the brink of a record-equalling 10 consecutive home wins.

Saturday, then, would be the ideal chance for Pakistan to redeem themselves - and rekindle the form shown en route to Champions Trophy glory last year. As always, it depends on which Pakistan unit rocks up on the day. Hopefully, it won't be the temperamental, fragile victims of circumstance.

Verdict: New Zealand 36/100
The Black Caps will clinch their record 10th straight home victory, but it'll probably stop there, as the Pakistanis bounce back with too little, too late, in ODIs four and five.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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