WELLINGTON: New Zealand and Pakistan go head to head against each other in the first international one-day six-game series starting on Saturday.
Kiwi Twenty20 series win 2-1 at home last month and ended in 2010 with high hopes that the new year. However, things changed when Pakistan to return to Test matches, winning two games of the series 1-0.
Both teams will now seek to gain advantage in the series ODI, when it will be their last tour before the World Cup, scheduled from February 19 in India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
Shahid Afridi Pakistan captain has returned to lead the team in the ODI series, but it is reportedly less than a lot of pressure to do well, because his performance all-rounder, as well as ODI captain is in the spotlight, the checkerboard pattern in 2010.
Flamboyant cricketer expected the team’s World Cup, but Misbah-ul-Haq breathing down his neck, after an impressive performance as the captain, the United Arab Emirates first against South Africa and here in New Zealand.
Misbah has been named vice Afridi for six-game series here. However, Afridi does not seem very worried captain and its best to keep his focus on winning the ODI series against the Kiwis.
Pakistan has a very balanced team and ODI players have the potential to disrupt any team in the world.
Besides Afridi, Shoaib Akhtar match-winners, Abdul Razzaq and Kamran Akmal to be part of a team in the opener and can be a handful for any side effects when the song.
Visitors have a very strong bowling line-also Shoaib, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Saeed Ajmal and Afridi in the ranks.
They have a good back-up bowler Mohammad Hafeez have done well in limited overs cricket recently.
Middle-order is also looking for a solid experience Khan Younis and Misbah shared resource places Umar Akmal.
Moreover, the Kiwi captain Daniel Vettori will be under intense pressure to excel in the series after consecutive defeats against Bangladesh and India in the ODI series last year.
Vettori has already resigned after losing the captain of the Test series against Pakistan and just give up leadership sweaters after the World Cup.
The Kiwis will depend largely on its all-teak performed against Pakistan. The quality cricketers in his team, as Jacob Oram, Scott Styris, Vettori and James Franklin, who has impressive record of one day to show off.
The team also hopes that as a key batsmen Ross Taylor, Jesse Ryder, Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill fire against Pakistan.
But New Zealand is not as strong as Pakistan in the bowling department. They have a very deadly attack has been its weak point in the recent defeat.
Hats blacks are also aware of their worst ever campaign in the ODI, as they have now lost 11 straight games and has not won a single match since August 2010.