New Zealand expecting tougher examination from Pakistan

WELLINGTON: Having walloped the West Indies without raising a sweat, New Zealand are expecting a more rigorous workout when the one-day series against Pakistan begins in Wellington on Saturday.

Pakistan are on a nine-match winning streak, which includes winning the ICC Champions Trophy and in their one warm-up game they scored an impressive 341-9 against a New Zealand XI with unbeaten centuries to openers Fakhar Zaman and Azhar Ali.

They then rolled the New Zealand side for 221 with Shadab Khan taking four wickets.

New Zealand dominated the West Indies in every game of their tour, but coach Mike Hesson was wary of the Pakistan threat.

“They´re as good a bowling attack as there is going around in world cricket at the moment. Certainly very varied. They´ve got wrist spinners, finger spinners, and left and right arm quicks,” Hesson said.

“They´ve got some very good performers and from a batting point of view they´re experienced.”

But they will have to adjust to New Zealand conditions with overnight rain forecast and strong southerly winds during the day, which could pose problems for top-order batsmen Fakhar Zaman, Azhar Ali and Babar Azam.

Fakhar, who averages 44.44 from nine ODIs, “has had a great start to his international career but has never toured New Zealand, so there will be challenges adapting to different conditions,” said New Zealand quick Tim Southee.

On the Basin Reserve wicket and with the prospect of inclement weather, New Zealand can be expected to unleash the short ball that proved a valuable tool against the West Indies.

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