Pakistan favourite against hosts Netherlands in ODI series

LAHORE: Babar Azam-led Pakistan ODI squad is favourites against the 14th ranked Netherlands team when they meet the hosts in the first ODI of the three matches of the first-ever bilateral series between the two countries in Rotterdam tomorrow.

The fourth-ranked Pakistan will face the hosts Netherlands for the other two matches 18 and 21 August.

The three-match series is part of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League where the visiting side occupies fifth spot with 90 points. Babar’s side will be aiming to win all three matches to grab second position in the points table.

A couple of milestones are on the cards for Pakistan’s premier players. Number one ranked ODI player Babar Azam needs one more century to become the only Pakistan captain to score 10 tons in international cricket. Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan requires 18 more runs to complete 1,000 ODI runs.

Imam-ul-Haq, who trails his skipper Babar on second spot in the ICC batters’ rankings, will be looking to continue his rich vein of form after amassing seven fifty-plus scores on the trot in ODIs. He was declared player of the series for scores of 65, 72 and 62 in Pakistan’s 3-0 win against the West Indies at home in three-match ODI series in June 2022.

Pakistan will be without the services of world number three ODI bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, who is not available for the first two games due to knee injury.

The touring side had their first training session in Schiedam cricket ground, but due to rain they were compelled to conduct the second training session indoors in Rotterdam.

Reflecting on team’s preparation ahead of the series captain Babar Azam said:

“It’s great to be here in Netherlands for the first time. The weather and the hospitality is very good here and we are being looked after really well.

“I do follow Netherlands cricket and I am impressed with their passion for the game,” he said adding that he hoped that the series will go a long way to promote the game in this region.

On his team’s performance the ODI and T20I top batsman said “We will not become complacent here and the players are ready to express themselves at the ground. In the absence of Shaheen Shah Afridi, this is an opportunity for youngsters to come forward and showcase their skills.

“We are looking forward to a good contest between bat and ball and I am hopeful the fans will turn up in numbers to witness the series.”

Pakistan squad: – Babar Azam (captain) (Central Punjab), Shadab Khan (vice-captain) (Northern), Abdullah Shafique (Balochistan), Fakhar Zaman (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Haris Rauf (Northern), Imam-ul-Haq (Balochistan), Khushdil Shah (Southern Punjab), Mohammad Haris (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Nawaz (Northern), Mohammad Rizwan (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Mohammad Wasim Junior (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Naseem Shah (Southern Punjab), Salman Ali Agha (Southern Punjab), Shaheen Shah Afridi (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), Shahnawaz Dahani (Sindh) and Zahid Mehmood (Sindh)

Schedule:

16 Aug – 1st ODI; VOC Cricket Ground, Rotterdam

18 Aug – 2nd ODI; VOC Cricket Ground, Rotterdam

21 Aug – 3rd ODI; VOC Cricket Ground, Rotterdam

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