Sunday, May 07, 2023
Web Desk

New Zealand look to avoid whitewash against Pakistan in today's fixture

Web Desk
New Zealands players celebrate after the dismissal of Pakistans Fakhar Zaman (not pictured) during the third one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the National Stadium in Karachi on May 3, 2023. — AFP/File
New Zealand's players celebrate after the dismissal of Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman (not pictured) during the third one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Pakistan and New Zealand at the National Stadium in Karachi on May 3, 2023. — AFP/File

KARACHI: New Zealand pacer Matt Henry is hopeful that his side can avoid a series whitewash in Pakistan by showing an improved display in the fifth and final One-Day International (ODI) against the world number one side today (Sunday).

The Men in Green were elevated to the top position in the International Cricket Council's (ICC) ODI rankings after a thumping 102-run victory in the fourth match against New Zealand in Karachi.

The Kiwis landed in Pakistan without regular skipper Kane Williamson, who is also likely to miss this year's World Cup with a knee injury, and several frontline players who are busy honouring the franchise commitments in the Indian Premier League (IPL).

The team under Tom Latham managed to draw the preceding T20 series 2-2 but the hosts took an unassailable 4-0 lead in the one-day series.

In the fourth ODI on Friday, skipper Babar Azam smashed 107 to help Pakistan post a commanding 334-6 at the National Stadium in Karachi.

In reply, New Zealand were all out for 232 in the 44th over to succumb to a 102-run defeat.

"It's a shame we really haven't had the success that we wanted to ... " Henry told reporters after the loss.

"Even though it's not nice not to have won, we're definitely taking some positives out of this tour so far.

"We've still got one game to go and hopefully we can put that performance together."

The tourists are hoping the experience of playing nine limited-overs matches in subcontinent conditions would stand them in good stead at the ODI World Cup in India later this year.

Henry had no hesitations admitting Pakistan had outplayed his team in home conditions.

"First and foremost, our focus has been on this tour. We're coming here to Pakistan to challenge ourselves and compete the best we can," said the 31-year-old who has been New Zealand's best bowler on this tour.

"Obviously it's frustrating to be four-nil but sometimes you've got to give kudos to the way that Pakistan have been playing their cricket.

"They are obviously number one in the world at the moment and playing in their home conditions.

"They've been able to really adapt to these conditions and put the squeeze on key moments," he added. 

In order to cement their place at the top, Pakistan will have to win the series 5-0. A defeat in the last ODI will see them drop to number three spot with Australia reclaiming their number one ranking.

Pakistan will also remain on top if they bag a victory in the fourth ODI and the fifth match is abandoned or ends in a no-result.


Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan, Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Haris, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Ihsanullah, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Agha Salman, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Usama Mir

New Zealand: Tom Latham (captain), Tom Blundell, Chad Bowes, Mark Chapman, Matt Henry, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Adam Milne, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Will Young.