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Tuesday March 28, 2023

Beating Pakistan a tough challenge: Williamson

By Our Correspondent
January 09, 2023
New Zealand players celebrate a wicket in an ODI match. — ICC/File
New Zealand players celebrate a wicket in an ODI match. — ICC/File

KARACHI: In 1976-1977 New Zealand beat Pakistan in a one-off ODI in Pakistan. Since then, they have lost all their series against Pakistan in Pakistan.

In 1984-1985, Pakistan beat New Zealand 3-1. In 1996-97, hosts Pakistan downed New Zealand 2-1. In the 2002 series, Pakistan clean-swept the three-match series and then in 2003-2004 Pakistan again whitewashed New Zealand 5-0.

Both the nations now face each other in a three-match ODI series which will begin here at the National Stadium on Monday (today).

And New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson said that it would be a “tough challenge. We know that it’s a tough challenge against very strong Pakistan, so looking forward to the series,” Williamson told a pre-series news conference here at the National Stadium on Sunday.

“If we assess the conditions which are in front of us, all of our players are playing for the first time ODI cricket here. We will assess and commit our plans and will play the cricket which is important to us as a team,” Williamson said.

“Pakistan are a very strong side and naturally know these conditions very well as well. For us as a team is to focus on cricket and would try to put on improved performances,” said Williamson.

“We saw some glimpses back home in our last series that was heavily affected by rain. I am sure that would not be the issue here and we have good weather and it’s very good opportunity for our side to adjust to some different conditions,” the skipper said.

He said both teams are well-balanced. “Both strong teams and well-balanced squads and in terms of rankings it’s very difficult to look as you play against different oppositions at different times in different conditions so we are trying to focus on cricket that is in front of us. It’s a good opportunity for us as a side to show some improvement,” Williamson said.

Asked about not having won a series since 1976-1977, Williamson said: “Obviously I mean a tough place to play with Pakistan on number of occasions in the UAE.”

Asked whether spinners would play a role in the series, the New Zealand skipper said in all formats, spinners are precious. “In all formats spinners are valuable and they always com in to the game. In terms of conditions we are not sure just yet in terms of how much impact they will leave whether it is aggressive option or defensive option. We have to wait and see. In these parts of the world there is certainly a role for the slow bowlers to play,” Williamson said.

Teams (from):

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Tom Latham, Finn Allen, Michael Bracewell, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Daryl Mitchell, Henry Nicholls, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Blair Tickner

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Kamran Ghulam, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Agha Salman, Shahnawaz Dahani, Shan Masood, Tayyab Tahir, Usama Mir.