Pakistan v New Zealand: Imam-ul-Haq, Boult and others to watch

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Imam-ul-Haq is back in action for Pakistan.

With the T20 series done and dusted, Pakistan and New Zealand now turn their attentions to the three-match ODI series that begins at Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

The men in green were highly impressive in the T20s as they recorded a second consecutive 3-0 series clean sweep in the UAE but they will be up against it in the ODIs given their recent record against the Kiwis.

The Blackcaps have won 11 straight ODIs against Pakistan on the bounce coming into the series. As Sarfraz Ahmed’s men look to break that dreadful sequence, we look at three players from each team who could have a decisive impact on the series.

PAKISTAN

BABAR AZAM

The Pakistan batting lynchpin is in the midst of a purple patch as shown by his performances in the preceding T20 series against the same opponents. The right-hander bettered Virat Kohli’s record to become the fastest batsman to notch up 1,000 runs in the format, taking only 26 innings to get to the mark.

The 24-year-old was completely on top of the Kiwi bowlers in the three matches and will be looking to carry over that good form in the ODI series as well.

In the midst of a purple patch: Babar Azam.

In the midst of a purple patch: Babar Azam.

JUNAID KHAN

The left-armed pacer did not feature in the T20 series but is back in tow for the ODIs. The 28-year-old has found opportunities hard to come by in recent years despite being a consistent performer in the international circuit.

With Mohammad Amir now out of the picture, Junaid is ready to play a starring role for Pakistan with the ball. Despite Pakistan crashing out unceremoniously in the recent Asia Cup, the pacer was on song on the UAE wickets and will look to do more of the same against the Kiwis.

Junaid impressed in the recent Asia Cup.

Junaid impressed in the recent Asia Cup.

IMAM-UL-HAQ

The left-handed opening batsman was in fine flow in the Test series against Australia before sustaining a finger injury which ruled him out of the T20 series against the same opponents as well as New Zealand.

Back to full fitness and raring to go, Imam will be itching to continue the terrific start he has made to life in international cricket. The 22-year-old already has four ODI tons to his name in just 14 innings and you wouldn’t count it against him to add to that tally in the upcoming three matches.

The youngster has already notched up four ODI tons.

The youngster has already notched up four ODI tons.

NEW ZEALAND

TRENT BOULT

New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson would have loved to have the services of their premier pacer Trent Boult in the T20 series. The left-armer was on paternity leave during the T20s and his absence was dearly felt by the tourists in each of the three losses.

The 29-year-old is as experienced a campaigner as they come in limited-overs cricket and has the ability to adapt to any kind of conditions. Slow wickets or not, expect Boult to make his mark in the UAE.

Boult will bring the heat to the UAE in the ODIs.

Boult will bring the heat to the UAE in the ODIs.

COLIN MUNRO

The explosive opener looked in excellent form in the T20 series with scores of 58 and 44 in the first two games. Capable of taking the game away in an instant with his outstanding hitting powers, Munro will be key to providing New Zealand with the blazing starts with the bat.

The 31-year-old has always been a hit in the T20 format but is yet to leave his mark in the one-dayers. With no ODI tons to his name so far, the Pakistan series could be the perfect chance for the southpaw to register his maiden one.

In-form Munro will be desperate for a maiden ODI ton.

In-form Munro will be desperate for a maiden ODI ton.

ISH SODHI

The wily leg-spinner will carry New Zealand’s spin hopes in the series and will be extremely key on the slower surfaces in the UAE.

He was decent without really standing out in the three T20s but he will know he is capable of much better with the white-ball.

If he can find his rhythm in the UAE, the 26-year-old can be a handful for the Pakistan batsmen with his guile and numerous variations in his armoury.

Sodhi will lead New Zealand's spin hopes in the series.

Sodhi will lead New Zealand’s spin hopes in the series.

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Live Cricket Blog: India clinch T20 series against Windies with 71-run win

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Catch all the latest happenings in the world of cricket.

Welcome to Tuesday’s live cricket blog!

The Sport360 team is in place bringing you the latest news from the world in what should be an action-packed day. We will bring you all the updates from the second T20 between India and West Indies as well as the reactions from day one of the Galle Test between Sri Lanka and England.

We will also be looking ahead to the ODI series between Pakistan and New Zealand which gets underway on Wednesday at Abu Dhabi.

Get in touch on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day.

9:30pm – Ben Foakes ‘surprised’ to make England debut

Ben Foakes thought he would be watching England‘s first Test against Sri Lanka from the sidelines but ended up playing a starring role on day one of his unexpected debut.

Surrey wicketkeeper Foakes had planned for a rare winter at home after missing out on the 16-man squad but joined up as cover when regular gloveman Jonny Bairstow suffered an ankle injury during the recent one-day series.

Read the debutant’s quotes in full after his unbeaten 87 on the opening day here.

A proud moment for the Surrey man.

A proud moment for the Surrey man.

9:00pm – India clinch T20 series against Windies with 71-run win

India have beaten the West Indies by runs in the second T20 at Lucknow to clinch the three-match series against the visitors. Having set the Windies a target of 196 runs to get, India restricted them to 124-9 in their 20 overs to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

See more on India’s excellent result in our live match report here. For a more in-depth look at the game’s proceedings, check out our talking points here.

India and Windies tussle in Lucknow. Image - BCCI/Twitter.

India and Windies tussle in Lucknow. Image – BCCI/Twitter.

8:30pm – Sarfraz determined to end Pakistan’s losing streak against Kiwis

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed insists his team can end an 11-match losing run to New Zealand when the two sides meet in the first one-day international in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.

Pakistan crushed New Zealand 3-0 in the preceding Twenty20 series on Sunday – their second whitewash in a week following a romp over Australia, also in Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

Read what both the skippers had to say ahead of the start of the ODI series here.

The skippers and the trophy. Image - PCB/Twitter.

The skippers and the trophy. Image – PCB/Twitter.

5:30pm – India made to bat first in second T20 against Windies

West Indies will bowl first in the second T20I against India at Lucknow after skipper Carlos Brathwaite won the toss at the Ekana stadium.

The visitors will need to win the clash if they are to keep their chances in the three-match series alive after India won the opening match by five-wickets at Kolkata.

Do not miss any of action by following our live ball-by-ball coverage from Lucknow here.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is back for India.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar is back for India.

5:00pm – Debutant Ben Foakes leads England fightback at Galle

Debutant Ben Foakes was the hero for England on the opening day of their first Test against Sri Lanka at Galle on Tuesday.

The wicketkeeper-batsman slammed an unbeaten 87 in his maiden Test innings to dig England out of a hole on the opening day as the tourists posted 321-8 before stumps were drawn.

Read about Foakes’ impact and more in our day one report from Galle here.

Instant impact from debutant Ben Foakes.

Instant impact from debutant Ben Foakes.

3:00pm – Rangana Herath bags 100th Test wicket at Galle

Sri Lanka’s Rangana Herath, the most successful left-arm spinner in history, claimed his 100th scalp at Galle on Tuesday in his farewell match as England struggled 113 for 5 at lunch in the first Test.

Only two other bowlers have achieved 100 wickets at the same ground — Herath’s compatriot Muttiah Muralitharan who achieved it at Galle, Kandy and SSC Colombo, and England paceman James Anderson at Lord’s.

Read more on the retiring Herath’s stupendous feat here.

A century of Galle dismissals for the Sri Lanka veteran.

A century of Galle dismissals for the Sri Lanka veteran.

2:00pm – Shikhar Dhawan returns to Delhi Daredevils

Shikhar Dhawan will be back playing in his hometown in the Indian Premier League(IPL) after the opening batsman was traded to Delhi Daredevils by the Sunrisers Hyderabad.

The India limited-overs stalwart’s future in the IPL has been subject to recent speculation with Kings XI Punjab and Mumbai Indians also vying for his signature.

However, it is the Daredevils who have beaten Mumbai and Kings XI to Dhawan’s signature. Read more on this story here.

Shikhar Dhawan has bid goodbye to Sunrisers Hyderabad.

Shikhar Dhawan has bid goodbye to Sunrisers Hyderabad.

10:00am – Lahiru Kumara axed from Sri Lanka Test squad

Sri Lanka pacer Lahiru Kumara has been dropped from the Test squad for the series against England after he was found to be in breach of the code of conduct for players.

Kumara is said to have broken the team curfew on Sunday, just two days before the start of the opening Test against England at Galle.

Read more on this story here.

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India v West Indies talking points: Captain Rohit Sharma leads from the front

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The flying 'Hitman'. Image - BCCI/Twitter.

India made it a series win across all formats against the West Indies after crushing the visitors by 71 runs in the second T20 at Lucknow on Tuesday.

The win helped the hosts take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series. It was Windies skipper Carlos Brathwaite who won the toss and inserted the hosts into the batting crease as India piled on a mammoth 195-2 in their 20 overs.

In return, India’s bowlers managed to restrict the visitors to 124-9 in their 20 overs to seal a thumping series-clinching win at the brand-new Ekana Stadium.

As India celebrate another T20I series win, we look at the key talking points from Lucknow.

OSHANE THOMAS CRANKS UP THE HEAT 

Oshane Thomas had troubled India with his raw pace on his T20 debut in Kolkata and as such, more of the same was expected from the 21-year-old on Tuesday.

Hence, it was no surprise when he cranked up the heat with the very first over of the match at Lucknow. The right-armed pacer touched speeds of 150kmph in his first over as he made stand-in India skipper Rohit Sharma hop and jump.

More than his piercing pace, it was the steep bounce Thomas generated which had India’s openers in all kinds of bother. No wonder then Rohit was unable to score a single run off his first over which ended as a maiden. The youngster kept up the speed in his second over, too, as India’s openers were able to add only 20 runs from the first four overs.

The only thing missing from Thomas’ electric burst was a wicket and that would prove costly in the end for the visitors.

ROHIT STEALS THE THUNDER WITH FOURTH T20 TON

It is hard to believe Rohit Sharma ended up unbeaten on a 61-ball 111 after his first six deliveries had ended in dots. Following a quiet opening period, the stand-in India skipper finally freed his hands in the fifth over with some style. The right-hander dealt primarily in boundaries and specifically in sixes as he turned India’s innings on its head.

With Shikhar Dhawan looking solid at the other end, Rohit made up for his slow start by striking three sixes on his way to a 38-ball half century. He saw Dhawan and Rishabh Pant fall in quick succession at the other end, but those dismissals only spurred Rohit to step up his attack as he came alive in the death overs.

Rohit had to wait until the final over of the innings to get to triple figures but he got there with the help of two consecutive boundaries to bring up his fourth T20 ton, the most by any batsman in the format. The classy batsman put on an exhibition of six hitting at the Ekana Stadium, carting a total of seven of them in his whirlwind knock.

What was the most impressive aspect of Rohit’s big hitting was the fact that the Ekana stadium boundary lengths were significantly large, yet the opening batsman had no troubles in clearing the ropes with his immaculate timing on the ball.

That he now holds the record for the most ODI double tons as well as the most T20 hundreds speaks volumes about Rohit’s white-ball abilities.

DOUBLE K’S BREAK WINDIES BACK

A chase of 196 was always going to be a daunting one for the Windies despite there being no shortage of batting firepower in their ranks.

However, they did not help matters with the openers getting off to a poor start. It was Khaleel Ahmed who got India off to an excellent start with the ball with the left-armed pacer striking twice in the powerplay overs to remove the dangerous Shai Hope and Shimron Hetmyer.

With the powerplay done and dusted, it was Kuldeep Yadav’s turn to wreak havoc on the Windies batting order with the wrist-spinner striking twice in his very first over to see the backs of debutant Nicholas Pooran and Darren Bravo.

Once these four wickets had fallen, there was no way back for the visitors with India tightening the screws as the asking rate climbed steeply. Some late-order hitting from Keemo Paul helped the Windies cross the 100-run mark but it was not enough to spare the visitors’ blushes at Lucknow.

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