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New Zealand v Pakistan ODI Series Betting: Pace aces could spring a surprise

Posted on January 23, 2016 by Selby There have been 0 comments

New Zealand and Pakistan meet in the first of three ODI on Sunday night and following the topsy-turvy nature of the recent T20 series, the live on Sky showings should make for entertaining late-night viewing.

The first game takes place in Wellington with the hosts expected to carry on from where they left off - a 2-1 win in the shortest format. They are 1.50 with Pakistan 2.60. The series market is iature but expect the Kiwis to be a couple of points shorter.

So the tourists have been largely written off. Could that prove to be folly? With bat and ball they should be competitive. Ordinarily there is a concern about Asian sides in conditions which assist bowlers, but Pakistan surely have an attack which can beat the hosts at their own game.

Indeed, Pakistan could field a terrifying and torturous pace trio. Wahab Riaz is set to take the new ball with Mohammad Amir, returned to internationals following his ban for corruption, while the giant Mohammad Irfan has the potential to unsettle the Kiwi batsman in the middle overs.

Wahab is one of the quickest in the world and so long as his energy and commitment levels are right, then he will be a threat. Only Trent Boult, with 39 wickets, has taken more than Wahab's 32 in the last 12 months. His average of 27 and strike rate of 31 should not be sniffed at.

Amir's fall from grace was well documented and his appearance in the T20s were his first since being carpeted. He managed only one wicket in the three games and was expensive but they were crucial outings as he re-emerges and he should be close to finding some rhythm.

Irfan provides a safety net if Amir is not at it. He has a reputation as a shock bowler but stock may be a more appropriate word were it not for the steepling bounce he can generate. He has a better economy rate than Wahab in the last year although his 24 wickets in 19 games have cost 31 each.

Those three will have to be at their best if they are to trouble a New Zealand batting line-up which is formidable in the last year. Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor are Nos 1,2 and 3 respectively on the runscoring charts. They have played more games than most yet their averages are monstrous - 58, 55 and 67 respectively.

Can Pakistan match that batting prowess? Nope. They have experience and nous in the shape ofShoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez, who are, would you believe, ninth and tenth on the Pakistan all-ti,e run lists. Azhar Ali, Ahmed Shahzed, Asad Shafiq and Sarfraz Ahmed are solid but this is not a line-up which is going to bust more than 300 regularly.

Only once against a top eight side have they breached 300 in the last year. Compare that to New Zealand who have done it seven times.

The problem for Pakistan is power hitting. They lack a No 5 or No 6 who is going to come in and change the tempo of an innings. Grant Elliott and Luke Ronchi are capable of that for the home side.

Still, strengths and weaknesses can cancel each other out. And Pakistan may feel that they can match a bowling attack which is without Tim Southee due to a back injury. There is no Brendon McCullum, either and with a series against Australia looming, don't be surprised if the Kiwis rest key men.

New Zealand have won five of their last six home series. They beat Pakistan 2-0 in January last year. But Pakistan won 3-2 on their previous visit in 2011.

It would be pushing it to claim that Pakistan will therefore be able to cope comfortably in conditions which are alien to a team which plays most of its games in Asia. Their record on the road outside of the sub-continent is surprisingly good. They have won four of their last six against top eight sides.

There is, however, an element of the unknown in this series and that puts the focus back on Amir. In time (probably after he has returned this summer to England, scene of the crime) he will be just another player. For now he has tainted. And so Pakistan have a challenge which no side has faced before: how to welcome back a corrupted player?

Pakistan are no strangers to schisms and friction and are probably better equipped than any other international team to cope with dressing room unrest. They invented the term.

Amir's performance in the T20s could have been a result of that disharmony and skipper Azhar has made no secret of his desire for the young paceman to be kept out of the game. He tried to resign over the issue.
But as we always say, it is hard to predict a team's performance. Harder still to predict what is going on in between its ears.

This post was posted in Cricket memorabilia