Pakistan hopes to win Auckland clash Kiwis

AUCKLAND : This tour ending where it began in Auckland may lead to good vibes taking hold in the Pakistan camp. They have been outclassed so far, but their solitary win of the trip came at Eden Park.

Their previous ODI at the venue also brought success, as they defended 222 against South Africa during the World Cup. New Zealand have been so consistent it is hard to imagine this – but could a long, rain-affected break between ODIs also snap the hosts’ momentum? Pakistan can no longer win the series, but they may not have minded a few extra days to recover from that rough loss at the Basin Reserve.

For a touring team, Pakistan seem to be well-versed in the peculiarities of this unique rugby-cricket venue. In the T20 they played here, the batsmen did not seem over-eager to clear those short boundaries, as visitors in the past have been. Pakistan’s bowlers also delivered the slightly shorter lengths that New Zealand have used to great success there.

The hosts are searching for a final fillip before they dive into the most anticipated tour of their home summer. Members of Australia’s ODI team have already arrived in the country, and the attention of the fans and media is beginning to turn in that direction. Another victory at Eden Park will mean New Zealand have won every home series they have played since October 2014, in all formats, further embellishing the aura that has developed around the team.

They may, however, have to contend with the absence of Martin Guptill for this match. Guptill rolled his ankle during training on the eve of the game, and is said to be a 50-50 chance to play.


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