Abu Dhabi:New Zealand and Pakistan will both be hoping they can overcome a series of setbacks when they clash in the first of three One-Day Internationals here on Tuesday.
Since finishing runners-up to Australia in the Champions Trophy last month, New Zealand's problems have multiplied, following injuries to key players and the sudden departure of coach Andy Moles.
Moles's resignation after differences with some of the players has left a void, but skipper Daniel Vettori is confident his team are capable of rising to the occasion.
"Now every single person in the squad has to pick up a little bit of the slack," Vettori said when asked about the team's being without a coach.
"People will still expect us to win, there's no reason why we shouldn't, and that's the mindset that we have to have going," said Vettori who will be an acting-coach as well as a selector and the team's leading all-rounder.
The Black Caps will also be without hard-hitting opener Jesse Ryder, all-rounder Grant Elliott and pace spearhead Daryl Tuffey -- all nursing injuries. Their places go to the uncapped Bradley-John Watling, recalled Scott Styris and fast bowler Tim Southee.
Elliott starred in New Zealand's five-wicket win over Pakistan in the semi-final of the Champions Trophy in South Africa.
"It is disappointing because you would always want to bring your top team for a series," said Vettori. "Despite injuries we did well in the Champions Trophy and hope we can do the same."
Vettori will also be without a deputy after wicketkeeper-batsman Brendon McCullum quit the vice-captaincy to focus on his batting.
The New Zealand captain said both sides were struggling with their form.
"I think inconsistency probably plagues both the teams. There are some really talented players in both the sides who can win games but how often are we consistently doing that?," said Vettori.
"We know we're going to battle hard against Pakistan and we need those key players to step up to either win games or nullify Pakistan's key players.
"They've got a lot of issues going on but they've dealt with them in the past and they're used to it."
Pakistan captain Younus Khan offered to resign over unproven match-fixing allegations following his team's defeat against Australia and New Zealand in the Champions Trophy.
Pakistan Cricket Board rejected Younus's resignation, but there were reports of disharmony within the team.
Younus, however, stressed unity was vital if they were to achieve a win.
"We can only win if we play above our potential and play as a unit," said Younus, who will pass the captaincy to all-rounder Shahid Afridi for two Twenty20 matches after the one-day series.
"New Zealand are like Australia and Sri Lanka, who play as a unit and you have to play like that to beat them."
Pakistan will be without key fast bowler Mohammad Asif, who was not selected because immigration officials will not let him into the United Arab Emirates following his deportation from Dubai last year on charges of possessing a banned drug.
The second and third one-dayers will be played here on November 6 and 9. The series was moved out of Pakistan after New Zealand refused to tour following attacks on the Sri Lankan team in March this year.
Pakistan: Younus Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Umer Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamir, Rao Iftikhar, Wahab Riaz
New Zealand: Daniel Vettori (capt), Shane Bond, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Aaron Redmond, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Bradley-John Watling
Umpires: Bruce Oxenford (AUS), Asad Rauf (PAK)
Tv Umpire: Zameer Haider (PAK)
Match Referee: Andy Pycroft (ZIM)