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Pakistan captain Babar Azam (left) and NZ ODI skipper Kane Williamson look at the coin after the toss in first ODI in Karachi. — Twitter

KARACHI: Pakistan captain Babar Azam won the toss and sent New Zealand in to bat Monday in the first day-night international in Karachi.

Pakistan’s young pacer Naseem Shah picked up the first wicket just on the second delivery, keeping up the first-over wicket tradition by dismissing Devon Conway. 

Pakistan handed an ODI cap to 27-year-old leg-spinner Usama Mir after showing good form in domestic matches, while New Zealand included all-rounder Henry Shipley, 26, for his first international.

The teams will also meet on Wednesday and Friday, both times in Karachi.

New Zealand, runners-up at the last World Cup in 2019, won 10 of their 16 ODIs last year.

They have been dominant against Pakistan, having won 12 of the last 15 ODIs between the two teams.

The 2023 World Cup is set for India later this year.

Pakistan, New Zealand build towards World Cup

Pakistan skipper Babar Azam is confident his team will do well in the limited-over matches.

“Pakistan has proved themselves to be a good white-ball team and this series provides us a perfect launching pad to kickstart our World Cup preparations,” said Azam of the World Cup in October/November.

Azam’s team won eight of the nine one-day internationals last year, including a 2-1 series win over a formidable Australia at home.

“We are a well-rounded side with solid batters and bowlers who have proved themselves time and again so I am confident of doing well in the coming series,” said Azam.

Pakistan will miss pace spearhead Shaheen Shah Afridi who is recovering from a knee injury sustained in November last year, while spinning allrounder Shadab Khan is also out with a recent finger fracture.

Opener Fakhar Zaman will bolster the batting, as will Haris Sohail — recalled after two years.

New Zealand, runners-up in the last World Cup in 2019, won ten of their 16 ODIs last year and have a strong unit led by Kane Williamson.

They have been dominant against Pakistan, having won 12 of the last 15 ODIs between the two teams.

Williamson is also concentrating on World Cup, having relinquished Test captaincy.

“I felt that continuing to captain the white-ball formats was preferable with two World Cups in the next two years,” he said last month, referring to the 2023 ODI and 2024 T20 World Cups.

The accomplished batter acknowledged Pakistan’s strengths.

“Pakistan is a very strong side and naturally know these conditions very well,” said Williamson.

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Rizwan, Haris Sohail, Agha Salman, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Devon Conway, Finn Allen, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham, Glenn Phillips, Michael Bracewell, Mitchell Santner, Henry Shipley, Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson

Umpire: Aleem Dar (PAK) and Asif Yaqoob (PAK)

Tv umpire: Ahsan Raza (PAK)

Match referee: David Boon (AUS)

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