ABU DHABI: Pakistan captain Younus Khan finds himself under pressure as his team heads into the series-deciding third and final one-day against New Zealand to be played here on Monday.
A change is expected in Pakistan team for the today’s match.
Pakistan, who have not won a one-day series since beating the West Indies here last year, achieved a thumping 138-run win in the first match on Tuesday before New Zealand hit back with a 64-run win in the second on Friday.
Moreover, Younis is having a lean patch with the bat, scoring nought and 19 in the two matches — but coach Intikhab Alam backed his captain to come good when it matters.
“It can happen to any player,” said Alam of Younus’s wretched form which saw him scoring only two half-centuries in the last 18 matches. “I am sure that he can come good anytime, maybe in this crucial, must-win game.”
The 31-year-old replaced Shoaib Malik as captain after Pakistan lost a one-day series against Sri Lanka at home in Januray last year.
Under Younus, Pakistan lost one-day series against Australia in the United Arab Emirates and against Sri Lanka (on tour) earlier this year.
Although Pakistan won the World Twenty20 in England in June and then reached the semi-final of the Champions Trophy, Younus had to offer his resignation over unproven match-fixing allegations last month and questions on his form.
Pakistan Cricket Board rejected his resignation, saying that Younus, if fit and performing, can continue as captain until the 2011 World Cup.
Alam said both Pakistan and New Zealand will be under pressure in the final match.
“Since it’s a must win game for both the teams, whoever wins takes the series so both teams will be keen to perform and I hope my players raise their confidence and win this series, it’s very important for us.”
New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori said he would try to put more pressure on Pakistan.
“We look for more improvement and make sure that we head into this final game with more confidence and put more pressure on Pakistan,” said Vettori, whose team finished runners-up to Australia in the Champions Trophy last month.
“We did well throughout the Champions Trophy as most of the games we played were must win games and we stepped up, so I hope the team does it one more time.”
Vettori feared Pakistan can hit back after the loss.
“Pakistan can come back hard on us, so we must be ready for that, but I think there’s something left for us as lot of guys who, I suppose, need to perform on this tour and those who have performed need to do that once more.”
Middle-order batsman Ross Taylor, who failed to score in both the matches, faces one more test.
After the one-day series both teams move to Dubai where they play two Twenty20 matches on November 12 and 13.