KARACHI: Pakistan will be looking to stay alive in the five-ODI series after losing the first two rain-affected encounters when they face New Zealand on Saturday in the third match at Dunedin, and former Pakistan opener Imran Nazir believes team needs to focus if they are to claw their way back.
Pakistan’s batting line-up gave up on them in both matches after the results were decided using the DLS system, but Nazir thinks left-handed opener Fakhar Zaman’s probable return (from an injury which made him miss the second ODI) for the third clash will boost the visitor’s chances.
“Pakistan are succumbing under pressure,” Nazir told The Express Tribune, in an attempt to dissect Pakistan’s current mind-set. “They have set their minds to believe that New Zealand are unbeatable on their home grounds. They will have to snap out of it and push hard to avoid losing the series.”
The 36-year-old added Pakistan can replicate their Champions Trophy turn of fate and upstage New Zealand in the series.
“Pakistan just have to strengthen their minds, set their focus straight and believe that they can beat New Zealand like any other team. The key will be playing with confidence, avoid loose shots and remove any pressure that they have on their mind,” he said.
Physiotherapist Vib Singh clarified Pakistan’s position on Fakhar saying, “he has improved quite a lot, he did training and running, but we still have a day to see if he is totally fit before we go into the match”, and Nazir says, if the southpaw plays, he’ll support from all other batsmen.
“Pakistan have to improve their opening in both batting and bowling to put the hosts under pressure,” he said. “If Fakhar plays and scores, then his partners need to support him well. I am sure he can score big and all he will require is good support from the other end.”
Meanwhile, the weather in Dunedin in expected to be clear on Saturday as both teams will be looking to play a complete 50-over match, and former right-handed batsman says only if that scenario everyone would be name the better team of the two.
“If both teams play 50 overs only then the best team will emerge and then no team will be able to forward any excuse,” he said, adding that Pakistan need to win the match to keep players’ morale high.
Bowlers need to step up: Jalaluddin
Former right-arm pacer Jalaluddin believes Pakistani pacers need to find their form in Sarfraz Ahmed and co want to savour a chance of victory in the third ODI.
“Muhammad Amir is a very good bowler and the host do show signs of distress while facing him, so he should try to find his form. The coaches must work with him to find out the difficulties he is facing,” he said.
Jalaluddin added that other bowlers need to follow the plans set by captain and coach.
“Hasan Ali is doing good but consuming too many runs, while Rumman Raees and Faheem Ashraf will also have to buckle up. The captain needs to find the right combination of bowlers to make his attack more effective, while Shadab Khan should also be utilised better. They can do well if they concentrate on the game plan laid out by the captain and the coach.”