Our Pick Pakistan are favourites to win
Following their 3-0 whitewash of the West Indies in the T20I series, Pakistan will be taking on the same in a three-match one-day international series. The first match is scheduled to be played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium on September 30 and live action will commence at 3 PM local time. After being hammered in the T20I series, the visitors will be keen on turning things around in the one-dayers while the hosts will look to carry the winning momentum with them.
Read on for our betting tips and match prediction for Pakistan vs West Indies first one-day international...
Afghanistan hosted Zimbabwe in a 5-match ODI series at this ground earlier this year and there was only one first-innings score above 250. Prior to this, in the five matches that Pakistan played against some of the better ranked teams here, there were two 250+ scores and two 300+ scores in the first innings. The highest successful chase is 285 and so the team batting first would like to have something between 275-300 on the board.
Of the last thirteen ODIs played at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, nine have been won by the team that has batted first which could induce a decision to bat first after winning the toss.
West Indies have been horrible with the bat so far on this tour. So if they get to chase under lights, their chances of winning this match will fall sharply.
Predicted Score: Around 280
Pakistan will be looking at Sharjeel Khan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik and skipper Azhar Ali to get some good runs and take them to the predicted total. Babar Azam finished as the leading run-getter in the recently concluded T20I series. He remained unbeaten on two occasions and his current form makes him a favorite to top-score for Pakistan in this match. Azhar Ali scored at an average of 42.14 in England and we expect a nice contribution from him as well.
In the absence of Dwayne Bravo, it will be mostly up to Sunil Narine, Carlos Brathwaite and skipper Jason Holder to pick up wickets for the West Indies in addition to keeping a check on the flow of runs. Narine took 12 wickets in the home tri-series in June and finished being the leading wicket-taker for his side. Though he had a quite T20I series, he still will be the trump card for the Windies who is likely to trouble the Pakistani batsmen the most. If he returns to his old form and gets good support from the rest, the hosts could fall short of 280.
Predicted Score: Around 225
Johnson Charles and Evin Lewis are likely to open the batting, both of whom will be coming off a forgettable T20I series. Since they have been vulnerable in these conditions, West Indies will want Marlon Samuels and Kieron Pollard to play the big innings. Both of them had good hits in the tri-series and if they bat well here, the visitors will fancy their chances of reaching the predicted score. Samuels was the second-highest run-scorer in this series and we expect him to extend his good ODI form and top-score for the Windies in this match.
Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah and Imad Wasim will all have important roles to play with the ball for Pakistan. Amir and Wahab will be heading the pace attack and they will be backed by their team to pick up early wickets. The major threat, however, is going to come from Yasir and Wasim as the conditions in the UAE are conducive for spin. Yasir took 19 wickets from his four matches against England and he is more likely to take the most wickets for Pakistan in this match.
Pakistan and West Indies last played a bilateral ODI series in the UAE in 2008 when the latter were clean swept by 3-0. Since then, there have been 14 matches between them with Pakistan winning 8 of them. West Indies have won 5 of these matches while one match resulted in a tie.
The two teams have met at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium in 19 ODIs with Pakistan winning 10 and losing 9 of them. The last match was won by the West Indies by 110 runs in 2002.
Pakistan have a more than decent ODI record at this ground. In their 120 matches, they have won 79 and lost 40 which sums up their win percentage to 66.25. However, West Indies haven't done bad here either with 19 wins and as many losses from their 38 matches.
But the visitors have been clearly outclassed by the hosts in the shortest format. Though they did okay with the ball, their batting fell apart completely and chances of any drastic improvements from here onwards seem bleak, especially with Dwayne Bravo no longer with them.
The only thing which could boost the morale of the Windies at the moment is that they have won more 50-over games than Pakistan this year. Nevertheless, a West Indian victory seems far from happening and so we predict Pakistan to win this first one-day international.
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