New Zealand depleted ahead of first ODI with Pakistan


Pakistan will take on in-form but depleted New Zealand in the first ODI of a three-match series on Monday at Westpac Stadium in Wellington.

The Black Caps will be brimming full of confidence heading into the encounter on the back of sealing a thrilling 2-1 Twenty20 series victory over the same opponents on Friday after claiming the final clash.

Pakistan failed to make any impact on the impressive Kiwis during the short-game series, with Azhar Ali set to lead the Pakistani squad for the short limited-overs trip after two heavy defeats.

The Pakistan squad remains injury-free for the upcoming games, but history remains against them in the 50-over format, having lost in each of their last three matches against New Zealand on foreign soil.

For the beleaguered hosts, Tim Southee will miss out owing to a foot injury, while batsman Ross Taylor remains sidelined following picking up a side strain in the final T20 clash last week at the multi-purpose arena.

Experienced batsman Brendon McCullum is also unavailable for the opening two internationals but is expected to recover from his back injury to return to the team for the final meeting on January 31. He has been replaced by Todd Latham.

Head coach Mike Hesson has opted to select Luke Ronchi at wicket keeper for the one day opener, confirming BJ Watling will take over behind the stumps thereafter.

"We've talked about the importance of creating depth in all positions," he explained.

"Bringing BJ into the side for the second and third ODI will give him some time against the white ball."

The hard Basin Reserve deck could prove pivotal in the outcome, and Pakistan skipper Azhar Ali will be eager to utilise the experienced members of his top order.