ABU DHABI - Spirited Pakistan team is committed to beat New Zealand in the fourth One-day International at Abu Dhabi International Stadium today (Wednesday) to seal the series.

Pakistan and New Zealand players had practice sessions on Tuesday at the venue. As it was not a must practice session so Pakistani players took full advantage of it and majority of the playing XI players kept away from practice rather enjoyed rest. Skipper Shahid Afridi along with other senior players also remained absent from the practice session.

Around eight players attended almost three-hour long session, the main players among them were Ahmed Shahzad and Sohail Tanvir. Pakistanis are known to relax and inconsistent performers, so instead of being complacent, they should have taken advantage from the practice as already two days have gone from the third match and players had taken well rest.

Past greats including head coach Waqar Younis have accepted Pakistan has long history of being unpredictable and they are working on this particular area. He should have made compulsory for all the players to attend the practice session while Boom Boom Afirid should have been on the pitch, as he is the one who matters the most when it comes to selection of final playing XI. It is true Pakistan won the third match in convincing fashion and Kiwis were simply outclassed, but they must also remember, the same team had lost the second ODI and that too relatively with utmost ease. Kiwis are known to stage comebacks, so they took the session very seriously and all the players looked very determined to make a mark. 

Match starts at 4:00 PM

Pakistan batting lineup is well-known to melt down when comes under pressure. In the last match, Black Caps gave rest to their fastest bowler Adam Milne, who although took two wickets, yet his short pitch bowling caused too many problems for Pakistani batsmen that was the reason, Pakistan lost six wickets on short pitch deliveries. He will most likely stage comeback in the side. Kiwis missed his services badly and Pakistani batsmen enjoyed too much freedom, space and scored mountain of runs, but now the situation will be very different in Abu Dhabi. The pitch offers support to seam bowlers and Kiwis enjoy freedom of having few express pacers at their disposal. Unlike of Pakistan team, which depends on Irfan to provide early breakthroughs, while Sohail Tanvir although bowled well in the previous two matches, yet he is not an express bowler, rather he depends on variety. Wahab Riaz is a big flop in the entire series, as he has given away too many runs without taking even handful of wickets.

Pakistani selectors seem very much reluctant to try different combinations. Though they always claim they are trying different combinations before selecting final squad for the mega world cup, yet reality is quite different, as there is hardly any significant change witnessed in Pakistani team. Only forced changes were made that too due to injuries to certain players.

Every other team relies heavily on all-rounders, while Pakistan team thinks in different way. They entered all the three matches so far with one bowler short and remained so far very lucky Haris Sohail gamble paid the great dividend, but luck could disappear quickly. Every day is not a Sunday, so the selectors must understand it. Umar Akmal should have been the part of playing XI and should have kept behind the wickets to allow the selectors more freedom and space to include one more regular bowler, but Moin Khan has different ideas as he fully backs Sarfraz Ahmed, who no doubt had scored runs in Test matches but his wicket-keeping is a big question mark, he had already missed a few stumps and also dropped catches and not scoring runs as well.

Pakistan team must enter the match all cylinders blazing and beware of casual approach, they can’t afford to relax. New Zealand has already proved they could stage comebacks at any given stage, so Pakistan team needs to carry the momentum or forget about winning the fourth ODI. Things are looking good for New Zealand to stage comeback and level the series at 2-2. Until and unless Afridi x-factor blossoms once again and he leads from the front just like he did in the last match.

Pakistan team might enter the match with black armbands as mark to respect to Peshawar incident.


PAKISTAN: Shahid Afridi (capt), M Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Asad Shafiq, Haris Sohail, M Irfan, Nasir Jamshed, Sarfraz Ahmed, Sohail Tanvir, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz, Younis Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Yasir Shah, Anwar Ali.

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