Pakistan and New Zealand are gearing up for the start of a five-match One-Day International series, with the first game taking place today at the Pindi Cricket Stadium. This follows an evenly-matched T20 series that culminated in a 2-2 draw.
Both teams have introduced a new player for the ODI series, with Pakistan bringing in wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Haris and New Zealand adding Mark Chapman, who was awarded Player of the Series in the T20Is due to his excellent batting performance.
The first two games will be hosted at the Pindi Stadium, followed by the remaining three in Karachi. Both teams have already secured their spots in the 2023 ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, thanks to their top-eight finishes in the Super League – New Zealand leading and Pakistan securing the fifth position.
Over the past year, Pakistan’s performance has been commendable, boasting the highest win-loss ratio among all teams. Their recent victories include triumphs over Australia, West Indies, and the Netherlands. However, they lost to New Zealand in a series held earlier this year in Karachi.
Currently ranked fifth in the ICC ODI Team Rankings, Pakistan has a golden opportunity to top the chart but only if they manage to defeat the second-ranked New Zealand in all five matches. A 4-1 series win would put Pakistan in third place.
In the player rankings, Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam is the top-ranked batter. With 887 rating points, he stands a chance to cross the 900-point mark, a milestone only previously achieved by Pakistani batters Zaheer Abbas and Javed Miandad.
Key players to watch in the series include Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Tom Latham, Haris Sohail, and Mohammad Rizwan, all aiming to improve their rankings with strong performances.
In terms of bowling, New Zealand’s Matt Henry is the highest-ranked from either side, with Pakistan’s Shaheen Shah Afridi closely trailing. Pakistan’s vice-captain, Shadab Khan, who is ranked 14th among all-rounders, is eyeing a spot in the top-10.
This series also marks the return of former England opener and ICC Elite Panel of Match Referees member Chris Broad to Pakistan after 14 years. He will oversee all five ODIs, with umpiring duties shared between a team of seven, including Ahsan Raza, Aleem Dar, Asif Yaqoob, Faisal Afridi, Joel Wilson, Langton Rusere, and Rashid Riaz.