Mon, Mar 7, 11:52pm by Kevin Pitstock
New Zealand’s past five ODI’s:
Pakistan’s past five ODI’s:
Jesse Ryder is a big man with even bigger aspirations for his country. The 26-year-old is an immensely talented top order batsman who hits the ball with sheer power and brute force. New Zealand has played three matches in the World Cup so far, but Ryder has only batted once, scoring a quick fire 25 off 31 balls. The left hander will have to play a big innings in order for the Kiwi’s to get the upper hand.
The rise of Saeed Ajmal to international stardom over the past few years has been a true success for Pakistan. The 33-year-old has become one of the most damaging off-spinners in the world, claiming 45 wickets from 36 matches. Ajmal impressed in his first match of the tournament, taking 1/31 from eight overs. If the off-spinner is able to form a lethal partnership with the tournament’s leading wicket taker – Shahid Afridi – in this game, Pakistan will be hard to beat.
Sunny – maximum temperature of 30 degrees
Likely New Zealand Team:
Likely Pakistan Team:
We’ve hit the middle of the World Cup and this match becomes crucial for both teams. If top-of-the-table Pakistan is able to conjure a win, it would extend its lead over second-placed Sri Lanka by three points. But if the Kiwi’s win, they will join Pakistan at the top of the Group A table with six points.
The pitch in Kandy will allow for plenty of turn, thus Ajmal, Afridi, Daniel Vettori and Nathan McCullum will play massive roles in their team’s chances of winning. However it will be the most mature batsmen who are more likely to capturing victory.
Pakistan’s openers need to get their team off to the best possible start. Mohammad Hafeez and Ahmed Shahzad have put on partnerships of 11, 28 and 16 in the three matches so far. But the team desperately needs both players to see the new ball off and build that opening stands into scores of 100 plus.
On the other hand, New Zealand’s openers have been doing the majority of damage with the bat for the team during the tournament to date. Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum have each scored 135 and 118 runs respectfully so far, but most of those runs have come predominantly against minnow teams Kenya and Canada. It’s time for them, as well as the rest of the Kiwi batsmen, to stand up under pressure and perform against one of the more established teams.
But Pakistan has been the surprise packet of the tournament. When luck falls its way, there is no better team to watch in full flight. New Zealand also struggles dearly against good teams on subcontinent surfaces. If Afridi continues his good form with the ball and the batting line-up gives an even contribution, the Pakistanis will be hard to beat.
Best head-to-head bet:
Pakistan ($1.62 – Sportsbet)
Other suggested bets:
New Zealand high bat – Jesse Ryder ($5.00 – Sportingbet)
Pakistan most wickets – Saeed Ajmal ($5.50 – Sportingbet)
Man of the match – Shahid Afridi ($8.50 – Sportingbet)
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