About the Match
The Kiwis beat Pakistan by 4 wickets in the 2nd ODI to draw level with them in the 5-match ODI series; the two teams will now face each other in the 3rd ODI that’s scheduled to take place at Sharjah on 14th Dec. It was an all-round effort by New Zealand that saw them finally conquer Pakistan in Sharjah after 11 ODIs; both sides have made a few changes to their squads due to player injuries and it needs to be seen which of them can use the resources cleverly to emerge victorious here.
The bowlers ruled the day by successfully restricting Pakistan to a humble 252 runs; McClenaghan claimed 3 important wickets and was well supported by Adam Milne, who took 2 wickets but it was the young Matt Henry, who was playing in only his third ODI, who charged ahead with his 4 for 45, helping the team topple the opponent’s top order. Having to chase the target, the Kiwi batsmen started out very well with Devcich scoring 58 off 66 balls and Browline contributing with 47 runs. However, it was a captain’s knock by the calm and composed Kane Williamson, who posted a brilliant unbeaten 70 off 91 that steered the team to victory. With middle order players like Taylor, Anderson and Latham succumbing to the Pakistani spinner Haris Sohail, the chase proved to be challenging but they emerged victorious in the end with help from Ronchi and Vettori, who once again brought out their all-rounder capabilities. Vettori has been impressive with his bowling too as he gave just 48 runs in his 10-over spell but failed to get a wicket; he had taken two wickets in the first ODI and looks strong going forward. The team has great talent and experience on its side; with a positive attitude and determination, they will try to move ahead and win more matches.
Batting first, Hafeez was the lone fighter in the top order and he was impressive with 76 off 92 balls; Sohail once again stuck out firmly on the field to help rotate the strike and contributed with 33 runs this time which reminded the audience of his heroics in the last match. Misbah posted a well-made 47 but with no other batsman going for the big shots, the batting line-up could muster only 252 runs. The bowlers except for Haris Sohail, who took 3-48 and Afridi, who claimed 2 wickets couldn’t help the cause of the team in getting the Kiwis all-out and suffered defeat by 4 wickets. In the previous match, they had done well to chase a target of 247 successfully but in this match their strategy to set a target didn’t work out for them. Players like Asad Shafiq, Younis Khan and Ahmed Shehzad need to step up and come out all guns blazing if they want to dominate the Kiwi bowlers, who have a lot of variety in their attack.
The series hangs in a balance with both teams having won one match each; the Kiwis did well to bounce back after losing the opening match and look stronger to continue with their winning momentum. Pakistan has its own set of issues to deal with but they will fight back to dominate on Sunday; though it will be a well-contested match which may go down to the wire, we feel that New Zealand with a renewed vigour will win the third match.
New Zealand, 2.30 @ Bet365