Pakistan vs New Zealand 5th ODI: Preview and Prediction
Pakistan will be hoping for a whitewash when they welcome New Zealand for the final match of the ODI series at the Karachi National Stadium on Sunday. After a bittersweet end to the T20I series, the two behemoths met in the 50-over format, which the Men in Green dominated by a mile and a half.
After having won the first four games of the series, Pakistan will be hoping to continue this new-found momentum and end the series with a 5-0 mauling. On the flip side, the Black Caps will aim to end Pakistan’s juggernaut before they take on England in August.
What have they done so far?
Daryl Mitchell and Fakhar Zaman went shoulder to shoulder in the first two games of the series, with both destructive batsmen scoring consecutive centuries. However, Mitchell’s efforts ended in a losing cause as NZ were no match for Pakistan’s dominant overall performance.
Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi and Wasim Jr ran through the Kiwi defense, not allowing the batsmen to settle and form a partnership.
Pakistan bowled first in the first two ODIs and chased the targets, 228 and 336 runs respectively, set by the Kiwi batsmen fairly easily.
In the third game, while both centurions fell cheaply, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq set the tone, allowing Pakistan to score 287 runs, which proved unsurpassable for the Kiwis.
Pakistan batted first and set a total of 334 runs, thanks to a scintillating century by Babar Azam and a half-century by Agha Salman. The Pakistani skipper also became the fastest batsman to score 5,000 runs in ODI cricket and also the fastest batsman to score 18 ODI tons, overtaking Hashim Amla.
While NZ started their innings in extraordinary fashion, they were yet again no match to Pakistani bowlers. Usama Mir and Wasim Jr were the pick of the bowlers and picked four and three wickets respectively, while Shaheen Afridi managed to bag a scalp for himself.
With this thumping win, Pakistan has become the No 1 ODI side in the world, overtaking Australia and India, a feat which had otherwise eluded them.
However, the Men in Green will either have to draw or win the last game to ensure they remain on top. Should they fail to achieve the aforementioned results, the Kangaroos will reclaim their number 1 spot.
Head to Head record
With a win in the fourth ODI, Pakistan extended their tally of wins against the Kiwis. The two sides have met 114 times in the 50-over format, of which the Asian side has won 60 encounters. The Kiwis, however, are not too far ahead and have gotten the better of Pakistan 50 times.
New Zealand will be hoping to shift the numbers in their favor when they meet Pakistan for the final encounter on Sunday.
Babar Azam (Pakistan): The Pakistani skipper has cemented himself as one of the most dominant white ball batsmen since his arrival on the international scene. In this series as well, while Fakhar Zaman, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf bagged headlines, Azam’s consistency got overshadowed.
However, the 28-year-old turned eyes as he bagged his 18th ODI ton and went past 5,000 runs in the longer format of the game, also becoming the fastest player to ever do so. He’s currently the number 1 ODI batsman in the world and has put Pakistan in a solid spot to be favorites to win the World Cup slated to take place later this year.
Daryl Mitchell: After a somewhat dry spell over the past few months, Mitchell has been in excellent form lately. Mitchell scored 113 runs in the first game following his comeback and 129 runs in the next. He fell cheaply in the third game but managed to score a handy knock of 34 runs in the fourth ODI.
Sadly, his efforts went in vain as Pakistan has been a far better side in the ongoing series. However, with everything said and done, NZ has undoubtedly found a reliable batsman in Mitchell, a batsman capable of building an innings and also putting his foot on the gas whenever required.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam ©, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shadab Khan, Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Naseem Shah
New Zealand: Will Young, Tom Blundell (wk), Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham ©, Mark Chapman, Henry Nicholls, Cole McConchie, Adam Milne, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry
It’s been tough to single out what more the Men in Green need to do to have an edge over their competitors. While both teams have played exemplary cricket, Pakistan has been ahead of the former World Test Championship winners. New Zealand are tough contenders and while they’ve lost the series, they’ll be playing for their pride to be Pakistan’s undoing.