Pakistan ready to host New Zealand after 18 years
RAWALPINDI: History will be made on Friday when Babar Azam’s Pakistan will take on Tom Latham’s New Zealand in the first of the three One-Day Internationals at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, after 18 years .
The occasion will see the tourists play their first match on Pakistan soil since 2003, after 18 years.
This will be the fourth time the two sides will meet at the Pindi Cricket Stadium in an ODI with Pakistan enjoying a 3-0 advantage. Prior to this match, Pakistan and New Zealand have met 19 times in an ODI in Pakistan between 1976 and 2003 with Pakistan winning 16 times.
Pakistan and New Zealand last met in an international 50-over competition during the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019 when Babar Azam’s glorious century anchored his side to a fabulous six-wicket win at Birmingham.
This series provides an opportunity to sixth-ranked Pakistan to climb a spot in the ICC Rankings. If the hosts beat the tourists by a 3-0 scoreline, they would jump to fifth position, however, any other result will see both sides retain their pre-series rankings.
New Zealand, the top-ranked ODI team in the ICC Rankings and the finalists of the 2019 World Cup, come into this series with a 3-0 sweep over Bangladesh in the three-match ODI series at home in March and will be eager to extend their winning streak.
Pakistan’s last outing in the format at this venue was in October-November 2020, when they defeated Zimbabwe 2-1, while in their last ODI series, they defeated South Africa by 2-1.
The series will not be part of the ICC World Cup Super League as both the PCB and NZC have mutually agreed to swap the status of this series with the one taking place in the 2022-23 season. This means the ODI series in the 2022-23 season will count towards the World Cup 2023 qualification while the series commencing on Friday will be a bilateral fixture in which team and player ranking points will be up for grabs.