SHARJAH - Pakistan cricket team is all set to take on New Zealand in the second One-day International (ODI) today (Friday) in Sharjah. The hosts enjoy 1-0 lead in the five-match series.

It will be a very close escape for the green shirts, as Kiwis will be like wounded animals and are likely to bounce back in style. Pakistan team must have to make at least two changes in the second match to ensure momentum stays with the hosts. Asad Shafique and either Umar Gul or Wahab Riaz should make way for Sohail Tanvir, Zulfiqar Babar and Umar Akmal, who was badly missed in the first ODI. The things were not looking good for the men in green, had Afridi also failed to score, there was no one who could hit lusty blows. With Umar and Sohail in the starting lineup, Pakistan chances would get a huge boost.

Kiwis are most likely to include Corey Anderson and Martin Guptil in the playing XI. Pakistan had played first match with one bowler short and rather depended upon padding batting. The situation will be completely different in the second match at Sharjah.

Match starts at 4:00 pm

Pakistan can’t afford to depend solely on Haris Sohail. Afridi did bowl well in the first game, but regular spinner is must to stop Kiwis from scoring runs, as all are well aware of the fact, Misbah is a very cautious captain and will take no risks and go for bowling if he manages to win the toss. Under these circumstances, Pakistan will require a specialist spinner.

Black Caps are famous to make strong comebacks, as they did in the Tests and T20s and there is every possibility, they may come back powerfully once again. If Pakistan team management finalises the same lineup, which played the first ODI, green caps chances of winning the match look very slim, and Kiwis will be hot favorites to win it and level the tie at 1-1. In that case, the pressure will be solely on Pakistan in the next three games to follow.

Pakistani selectors are in no mood of taking bold decisions and want to continue with the same lineup, which makes no sense of keeping eye on world cup and gift the series to the opponents. Trying better combinations is always helpful for the future, but only when the series is secured. Arguably Kiwis side is not more than an average one in the absence of some key players, while on the other hand, Pakistan is enjoying liberty of having almost 100 percent fit side.

Toss can play vital role in the outcome of the match while dew factor will also be taken into account, but in the last ODI at Dubai, there was not much difference and dew was not favoring the batting side, instead it was the batting side which had to suffer most as outfield was wet and ball was not travelling fast. Pakistan team needs to enter the match with positive frame of mind, aggressive approach and winning mentality, otherwise, the writing is very much on the wall.


PAKISTAN: Misbah-ul Haq (capt), M Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Bilawal Bhatti, Haris Sohail, M Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Younis Khan, Zulfiqar Babar.

NEW ZEALAND: Kane Williamson (capt), Corey Anderson, Dean Brownlie, Anton Devcich, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Mitchell McClenaghan, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Adam Milne, James Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Ross Taylor, Daniel Vettori.