Pakistan hold all the aces for ODIs
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Pakistan hold all the aces for ODIs

The cricketing gods have dealt Pakistan all the aces for the one-day series against New Zealand starting on Saturday.

india Updated: Jan 02, 2004 13:50 IST

The cricketing gods have dealt Pakistan all the aces for the one-day series against New Zealand starting here Saturday.

Not only do the tourists bring enterprising top-order batting and a more than useful lower-order into play, they have a bowling attack with strengths across the board.

In the just completed Test series won by Pakistan 1-0, the New Zealand batsmen had no answer to the lethal pace and reverse swing of Shoaib Akhtar and Mohammad Sami, and the problem will be compounded with the need for instant runs in one-day matches.

Pakistan have an impressive recent record against New Zealand in one-day internationals, having won 13 of the past 15 encounters, including a 5-0 whitewash in last month's series.

New Zealand all-rounder Chris Cairns gave a blunt summation of the problems facing the Black Caps in the five one-day matches: "It's pretty hard trying to hit 150kmh reverse-swinging yorkers all over the park."

Cairns, who is expected to play after being struck by a virus that sidelined him from the second Test, said New Zealand would have to produce a healthy run rate right from the start of the innings before the strike power of Akhtar and Sami return at the death.

"Bowling at the death is one of their strengths," he said.

"As a batsman, you just have to accept that you're unlikely to be as effective as you usually would in the closing stages."

Inzamam-ul-Haq's Pakistan team may have lost some of their more famous names but the young guns at the top of the order had made a big impression, and have the security of a seasoned middle and lower support group.

In the recent series in Pakistan openers Yasir Hameed and Imran Farhat set a world record with four successive 100-run partnerships and Hameed finished the series with 356 runs while Farhat made 348.

"We need to take wickets at the top of the order," said Cairns.

"Pakistan's main game-plan revolves around their young batsmen making a good start and getting them through to the 30 and 40-over mark with eight or nine wickets intact."

In one-day matches New Zealand are on a seven-match losing streak while Pakistan showed they remain in top form by beating Wellington in a warm-up match this week.

With Akhtar and Sami rested, Abdul Razzaq and Azhar Mahmood showed they were also useful exponents of reverse swing as they sparked a collapse of six for 19 in leading Pakistan to a 35-run victory.

The two took four wickets apiece and with Younis Khan scoring 63 and Salim Elahi 40 while captain Inzamam-ul-Haq and Yousuf Youhana were rested, coach Javed Miandad's only dilemma is which of his form players to omit.

New Zealand (from): Stephen Fleming (captain), Craig Cumming, Hamish Marshall, Craig McMillan, Scott Styris, Chris Cairns, Brendon McCullum, Jacob Oram, Andre Adams, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Daryl Tuffey, Ian Butler.

Pakistan (from): Taufeeq Umar, Imran Farhat, Saleem Elahi, Yasir Hameed, Yousuf Youhana (vice-captain), Inzamam ul-Haq (captain), Asim Kamal, Younis Khan, Moin Khan (wicketkeeper), Abdul Razzaq, Shoaib Malik, Danish Kaneria, Shoaib Akhtar, Mohammad Sami, Shabbir Ahmed, Umar Gul, Azhar Mahmood.

First Published: Jan 02, 2004 10:49 IST