One Day International battle between Pakistan and West Indies is starting from today.
The fifty-over format has been Pakistan’s weakest suit for a while now, which is why they are languishing at Number nine in the ODI rankings.
Prior to their consolation win over England in the fifth ODI in Cardiff, they had lost nine of their previous ten completed matches, the solitary win coming against Ireland.
However, their biggest weakness – a shortage of firepower and enterprise with the bat – is likely to be mitigated on the slow pitches that could feature in the ODIs as well.
If West Indies, who sit at No. 8 in the ODI rankings, do not find a way to adapt to conditions and tackle Pakistan’s bowlers, the ODI series might end up feeling like an extension of the T20Is.
Pakistan swept past West Indies in the three-T20I series, humbling the World Champions on slow, turning conditions, which neutralised their big-hitting game. That they couldn’t rotate the strike either exposed their deficiencies.
Pakistan’s batsmen, meanwhile, were right in their comfort zone, accumulating runs without the pressure of playing the fast-paced brand of limited-overs cricket that they have not yet adjusted to. It helped, of course, that in two of the three matches they were chasing low targets.
Can a change of formats bring a change in fortune for West Indies?
Given both teams’ lowly rankings, the series acquires added significance in the race to secure automatic qualification for the 2019 World Cup.
At the cut-off date of September 30, 2017, the top-eight teams in the rankings gain direct entry to the tournament, with those outside the top eight having to play a qualifying tournament.
A 3-0 series win for Pakistan would have them displace West Indies from the No. 8 rank.