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Pak vs NZ: Pakistan bowl first after winning toss in 1st ODI

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RAWALPINDI: Pakistan skipper Babar Azam on Thursday put New Zealand to bat first after winning the toss in the opening game of the five-match ODI series played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi.

Batter Haris Sohail who suffered an injury during a practice session has been excluded from the side.

Babar said the pitch will be helpful later in the day for batting while NZ captain Tom Latham endorsed Pakistan’s decision, saying they will also bowl first had they won the toss.

“Our morale is high after winning the final T20I.”

The ODI series offers both sides the opportunity to feel out each other´s strengths and weaknesses ahead of the World Cup in India in October-November.

The Black Caps shocked the home side by squaring a preceding five-match Twenty20 series 2-2 despite missing eight players — including Kane Williamson — due to the ongoing Indian Premier League (IPL) or injury.

Under stand-in skipper Latham, New Zealand adapted to the conditions skillfully, roaring back from 2-0 down to win the third and fifth matches, with the fourth abandoned after rain.

Middle-order batter Mark Chapman has been added to the ODI squad after blazing 290 for just one dismissal in the T20 series — the most runs by a batter in a five-match T20I series.

Wicketkeeper-batter Tom Blundell, recently included in the five best cricketers of the year by Wisden, and middle-order batter Henry Nicholls further bolster the squad.

Head-to-head

Pakistan have won five of the seven ODI series that Azam has captained. His two losses came against England in 2021 and New Zealand in January this year.

But New Zealand boast recent dominance over Pakistan.

Of the last six ODI series between them, New Zealand have won five and drawn one. Their last series defeat against Pakistan was at home in 2011.

The other matches of the current series are in Rawalpindi on Saturday followed by Karachi on May 3, 5 and 7.

Playing XI

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (c), Shan Masood, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Agha Salman, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf

New Zealand: Chad Bowes, Will Young, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (c & wk), Mark Chapman, Henry Nicholls, Rachin Ravindra, Adam Milne, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Blair Tickner

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PSL 9 match security details released

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The PSL will see over 16,000 police officers handling security responsibilities since matches in Rawalpindi and Multan will have a security strategy in place.

Colin Munro and Tymal Mills of Islamabad United landed in Lahore, and the team will play Lahore Qalandars to open the season.

Mohsin Naqvi, the chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), announced that the PSL’s ninth season will start on February 17.

He stated that the duration of the traffic closure would be limited and that the public would be notified about other routes through the media in a timely manner. He also directed that effective management be made to preserve fluency for the convenience of the people.

The Lahore DIG Operations Police announced that around 7000 people will be assigned to a security strategy that would guarantee spectators, including cricket players, complete security.

According to the security plan, residents would be permitted entry after completing four levels of security, and 13 SPs, 36 DSPs, and 81 inspectors would be stationed. The situation would also be continually monitored by the Punjab Safe City Authority’s cameras.

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PCB Chairman Mohsin Naqvi requests an in-depth spending report.

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Mohsin Naqvi, the recently elected chairman of the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), has started a thorough investigation of the organization’s spending.

The request, which is aimed at the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) and Chief Operating Officer (COO), highlights the organization’s careful attention to financial management.

Information obtained from people with knowledge of the situation reveals that the scope of the spending report includes all aspects of PCB’s business.

These consist of funding for the Pakistan cricket team, expenditures for sports personnel, and match-related costs. Furthermore, the report will give information on the PCB’s yearly budget and player compensation.

Chairman Naqvi’s decision is more than just a formality; it reflects a deeper desire to link spending to the national cricket team’s results.

It is believed that Chairman Naqvi is eager to examine the monetary outlays in comparison to the results achieved on the field, suggesting a calculated approach to resource distribution.

Chairman Naqvi is scheduled to call a briefing with the PCB’s senior brass after the comprehensive report has been prepared.

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Cyberattack on PSL 9 ticket purchasing website

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The franchise league announced that a hack occurred on Tuesday night on the Pakistan Super League (PSL) 9 online ticketing site.

The league revealed that the PSL ticket partners’ technical staff is working to resolve the issues brought on by the website hack.

PSL stated, “The [HBL PSL 9] ticketing website (http://pcb.tcs.com.pk) has been the target of a cyberattack.”

“The ticketing partners’ technical staff is effectively resolving the issue. We anticipate a prompt resolution and hope that the service provider’s website will soon be back up and running.

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