Pakistan’s cricket team will seek to avoid back-to-back series defeats in New Zealand when they take a 1-0 deficit into Thursday’s second one-day international in Napier. After kicking off their tour with a win in the opening Twenty20 contest, Pakistan have now lost three matches on the bounce, following defeat in the opening ODI in Wellington on Monday.
Pakistan appeared well on the road to a much-needed win when they reduced New Zealand to 99-6 in the 20th over, but they let the hosts off the hook to post a competitive total of 280, helped by an 82 from Henry Nicholls. In reply, Pakistan’s innings, despite 62 runs from Babar Azam, never really got going, before being all out for just 210. Afterward, batting coach Grant Flower gave a scathing assessment of his team, particularly the bowlers.
“If we’re going to be honest we probably should have got them out for 200-odd,” he said. “The short ball worked for a certain time, but I think we overdid it, we didn’t learn and we just didn’t bowl enough yorkers. We didn’t use our brains at all toward the end. Even though we should have got them out for a lot less, I still backed the guys to get [the runs required]. We didn’t take advantage of a good batting track in the afternoon. On the day, once again, we were outplayed in most of the departments.
“It doesn't seem like we're learning from our mistakes -- that's the disappointing part. It's one thing losing, but you're paid to do a job and if you keep making the same mistakes, there are going to be questions asked.”
The defeat means Pakistan have now lost their last four 50-over contests, dating back to their series against England last November. The form has been very different for New Zealand, which has largely maintained the momentum from their run to the 2015 World Cup final, despite the absence of key players.
Captain Brendon McCullum, who will retire after a Test series with Australia next month, will not return until the third and final ODI with Pakistan, while Ross Taylor and pace bowler Tim Southee are ruled out of the series. For Thursday’s match they have also lost bowler Mitchell McClenaghan to a facial fracture suffered in the opening ODI, with Doug Bracewell joining the squad in his place.
“Our main focus is making sure Mitch is okay and we'll continue to monitor him over the coming days,” New Zealand coach Mike Hesson said, according to the New Zealand Herald. “Doug has been in superb form this summer and we're confident he can come in and do a good job for us. He's an integral member of our wider bowling group.”
New Zealand will make another change to their lineup, with wicketkeeper Luke Ronchi rested for the finals two ODIs, ahead of a hectic upcoming schedule, and BJ Watling taking his place. Pakistan could welcome back Shoaib Malik to their batting order, likely in place of Sohaib Maqsood, after he recovered from injury.
Match time: Wednesday, 8 p.m. EST
Live stream: ESPN3