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New Zealand v Pakistan: Fifth ODI Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We preview the fifth and final ODI between New Zealand and Pakistan set to take place at the Basin Reserve on Friday 19 January. 

With the series win wrapped up and a record 11 consecutive victories at home achieved, New Zealand can now target 12 – and their first ever five-nil clean sweep over Pakistan.

The men from the sub-continent have not suffered a whitewash in a five-ODI series in almost 10 years, but are in real danger of such ignominy again this week.

New Zealand v Pakistan | Friday, 19 January | Basin Reserve, Wellington | 0:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 2/7 | Tie 35/1 | Pakistan 51/20

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New Zealand
The Black Caps were arguably the most tested they’ve been in the last two months earlier this week, when their quest for a record 11th straight victory in their own country was almost flummoxed. The hard-hitting Colin de Grandhomme, however, promptly ensured the streak continued.

De Grandhomme’s return to the side ensures balance across the XI, though he was hardly needed with the ball in Hamilton. The seamer will likely come into play more in Wellington, as more zip off the deck is expected.

New Zealand have successfully combated the veritable sophistication of Pakistan’s bowling with brutal hitting – and nothing will likely change in the final match, particularly if the tourists crumble under the pressure of a looming whitewash.

Now might be the right time to give seamer Matt Henry another go – and perhaps rest the veteran Trent Boult, who will be rotated for the upcoming T20I series against the same opposition anyway. Pace ace Lockie Ferguson could then be afforded a stint with the new ball.

The Kiwis have won six of their last eight completed ODIs at the Basin Reserve, including a precedent-setting 61-run victory over Pakistan here less than two weeks ago. Centurion Kane Williamson was key then, but shouldn’t need to carry the batting order this time.

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Pakistan
Pakistan’s title-winning campaign in last year’s Champion’s Trophy is increasingly looking like a flash in the pan. While a consolation victory on Friday won’t arrest the criticism entirely, it should slow it somewhat.

The decision to open the bowling with seamer Hasan Ali in the penultimate ODI backfired – and they will do well to return their most in-form bowler of the past 12 months to delivering the overs after the first powerplay.

While the performances of half-centurions Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfraz Ahmed on Tuesday showed some headway, one or two of them have to convert to three figures 72 hours later.

All-rounder Shoaib Malik probably won’t play, after showing delayed signs of concussion. He was struck in the head while batting in Hamilton. Opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq seems the most appropriate replacement.

Fickle New Zealand weather shouldn’t interfere with this fixture, with no rain and a high of 32 degrees Celsius predicted for Wellington on Friday. So a full match is anticipated, rather than a repeat of the truncated versions witnessed in ODIs one and two.

Verdict: New Zealand 2/7
Thumped five-nil by Pakistan in Lahore and surrounds in 2003, New Zealand should avenge that defeat 15 years later by the same scoreline. Malik, incidentally, was part of that 2003 Pakistan team.

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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