Pak vs NZ 1st ODI Match Preview: Kiwis in Pakistan after 18 years

The New Zealand Cricket team is currently in Pakistan for a white-ball series comprising of three One-Day Internationals and five T20 Internationals. This is New Zealand’s first tour to Shaheens’ realm since 2003 when they played and lost all five ODIs. Now with their return to the country with a slightly weaker squad, New Zealand will be looking to do well. Here is the preview of the Pak vs NZ 1st ODI Match. 

For Pakistan, this will be yet another big moment in bringing a top-ranked side to their realm. New Zealand is the second SENA team that is currently touring Babar and chaps’ backyard, following South Africa earlier in 2021. The ODIs, which were supposed to be part of the World Cup Super League, will be played as a bilateral series. That is because due to the non-availability of the DRS system. 

Team’s Previous headlines

It is a series of inexperienced versus unpredictable. Pakistan was expected to take down a completely new England side this summer. But instead, they suffered a whitewashed against them. To face against a younger New Zealand side will make Pakistan fans think twice about the outcome of the series. 

Green Shirts are yet to win a series over New Zealand since 2010. They came closest in 2018, where the series was drawn 1-1. As for their headlines, a lot has happened for them in the past 12 days. But they need to forget all of those and not just entertain the fans, but to win a rare series win over a top-ranked side in ODIs.  

There isn’t much to say about New Zealand apart from losing their first T20I series against Bangladesh. Since the 2019 World Cup, New Zealand has hardly played ODI matches. They have played seven matches since, winning over India and Bangladesh at home before losing the only ODI played against Australia before the pandemic took over. 

This is also going to be New Zealand’s first ODI series in Asia since 2018, which was coincidentally also against Pakistan in UAE. 

Captains with Trophy
Captains Babar Azam and Tom Latham with the series trophy

Match Details:

  • Date: Sept 17, 2021
  • Timing: 2:30 PM PKT
  • Venue: Rawalpindi
  • Weather: It’s going to be dry and humid and It’s also going to be sunny.  

Conditions / Pitch Report: 

A good wicket is expected to play out in the ODI series with runs expected to flow. Dew is expected at night so chasing will become a little easier for the batsmen. 

Head to Head:

Matches: 107 | Pakistan: 55 | New Zealand: 48 | Tied: 1 | No-Result: 3

Form Guide:

Pakistan: L L L W L  (Most recent first)

New Zealand: W W W L W

Team News:

1. Pakistan

On Wednesday, PCB announced their 12-men squad for the 1st ODI match. The line-up will be almost the same as against England – apart from Sohaib Maqsood being replaced by Iftikhar Ahmed at no.6 place. The battle will be most likely between Usman Qadir and Zahid Mehmood, the two leg-spinners. Qadir will likely get ahead of Zahid in Pak vs NZ 1st ODI. 

Pakistan’s Probable XI:

1. Fakhar Zaman, 2. Imam ul-Haq, 3. Babar Azam (c), 4. Mohammad Rizwan (wk),  5. Saud Shakeel, 6. Iftikhar Ahmed, 7. Shadab Khan, 8. Hasan Ali, 9. Shaheen Afridi, 10. Haris Rauf, 11. Usman Qadir

2. New Zealand

A squad mixed with experience and youth. The playing XI will most likely be the same side that played the fifth T20I match against Bangladesh barring a couple of changes. Doug Bracewell could get a game in place of Scott Kuggeleijn and Matt Henry, coming in for Ben Sears. 

New Zealand’s Probable XI:

1. Rachin Ravindra, 2. Finn Allen, 3. Will Young, 4. Tom Latham (c, wk), 5. Henry Nicholls, 6. Colin de Grandhomme, 7. Cole McConchie, 8. Dough Bracewell, 9. Ajaz Patel, 10. Jacob Duffy, 11. Matt Henry

NZ players in Rawalpindi
New Zealand players training ahead of the 1st ODI match in Rawalpindi

Players to watch:

1. Babar Azam, Batsman (Pakistan)

The last time these two sides met, Babar Azam played the most important knock of his life. His 10th century is easily the best of his ODI career, where his 101* guided the team to a six-wickets victory over New Zealand in the 2019 World Cup. Babar gradually has improved against New Zealand. His last three innings against them are averaging at 119. 

2. Tom Latham, Wicket-keeper (New Zealand)  

The stand-in captain of New Zealand for Kane Williamson, Tom Latham didn’t have a great start in Bangladesh. The team lost 4-1 in the T20I series. A change in the format could bring his side to do well, especially against a team that lost eight of their last nine bilateral matches against the kiwis. Even as a player, Tom Latham will have to do well. Though his average in Asia is +12 more than his career average of 34. 

3. Shaheen Afridi, Bowler (Pakistan)

Shaheen Afridi has played only four games against the Kiwis so far. He has taken 12 wickets against them with two four-fers, which came in the 2018 ODI series. Shaheen enjoys bowling against New Zealand, striking early in his spell. As the leader of the pace attack, Shaheen will have to do his duty to set up the game for his line-up. 

4. Matt Henry, Bowler (New Zealand)

In his long career, Matt Henry enjoys bowling against Asian countries. His average in ODIs against them is 20.58. In fact, of his 98 ODI wickets, 70 of them came against Asian nations. However, against Pakistan, he has the fourth-best career average against them. It will be the first time he will be bowling on greens’ soil. 

Stats and Trivia:

  • This is New Zealand’s first tour to Pakistan after 18 years
  • Matt Henry is just two wickets away from taking his 100th wicket in ODIs.
  • Babar Azam is 15 runs away from reaching 4000 ODI runs.
  • In their last two ODI series in Pakistan, New Zealand lost 5-0 (in 2003) and 3-0 (in 2002). 


“In Bangladesh, the surfaces dictated the sort of variations that the bowlers needed to bowl, whereas potentially here, we’re a little bit unsure – we haven’t played in these conditions before. For us, it’s about trying to adapt to the conditions and try to think on our feet a little bit.”

New Zealand captain Tom Latham 

Also read: Waqar Younis Speaks up on his Resignation Story

1 Comment

  • Salman Ali
    Posted October 3, 2021 12:13 pm 0Likes

    Great effort by Auns Amin..
    Very impressive article.

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