Napier- Having tested a Full-Member nation in Nelson, then played out a thriller against the leading Associate of the tournament at the Gabba, UAE's fall to earth against India was dramatic. Having only had one day to prepare for that game in Perth, UAE were undone by the bounce R Ashwin gleaned from the WACA surface.

They have not had much time to prepare for the other South Asian giant either. UAE flew to Napier on Monday, and have had just one full training session and an optional one before the match. They will, however, be comforted in the knowledge that McLean Park is no WACA ground. Palm trees skirt the periphery, and a sea breeze blows through this venue as well, but the pitch is sure to be friendlier; Napier is routinely the highest-scoring ground in New Zealand.

Pakistan are similarly hamstrung in the most suffocated week of their schedule, and have had even less time to recover from their outing against Zimbabwe in Brisbane. This match will be the middle encounter of their three in seven days. Their fielding training, in particular, was carried out with modest intensity.

The batting is still decidedly lukewarm, but Pakistan will be encouraged by the sparking to life of their most penetrative quicks, who split eight wickets down the middle against Zimbabwe. Even if the Napier pitch is docile, will UAE capably handle the bounce of Mohammad Irfan or the pace of Wahab Riaz? Many Pakistan fans hope their team will gather pace and provide the rollicking finish the 1992 side managed, and with a win in the tank now, Pakistan are expected to extend the surge ahead of the big match against South Africa on Saturday.

In the spotlight

Having begun life in Sri Lanka and cut his teeth at Colombo's St. Peter's College, Andri Berenger has since represented age-group teams in both Sri Lanka and UAE. A reliable opening batsman by trade, his team has not yet seen the best of the 23-year-old in this tournament. With opening partner Amjad Ali also in mediocre form, an improvement on Berenger's scores of 22, 13 and 4 so far may see his team achieve their first opening stand worth more than 50, this tournament.

The World Cup is also yet to see the best of Sohaib Maqsood, who at his bruising best, can marshal the middle overs and navigate tricky chases with the best of them. He has been steadily sinking in the batting order this tournament. He came in at no. 5 against India, went to no. 6 against West Indies, then batted lower than Shahid Afridi, at no. 7, against Zimbabwe (perhaps the side-effect of an effort to have Afridi spur a flagging run rate). He is adept at both collecting risk-free runs into the outfield and bludgeoning balls to the leg side, and if he can discover that form again, Pakistan may just string some middle-order partnerships together.

Teams news

Both Sarfraz Ahmed and Umar Akmal had keeping gloves on at training, which suggests Akmal will be allowed to continue as keeper while Sarfraz sits out. Pakistan might consider bringing in legspinner Yasir Shah for quick Rahat Ali.

Pakistan (probable): 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Haris Sohail, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Umar Akmal (wk), 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Sohaib Maqsood, 8 Wahab Riaz, 9 Sohail Khan, 10 Rahat Ali/Yasir Shah, 11 Mohammad Irfan

UAE may tweak their top order following the Perth collapse, but spinner Rohan Mustafa's place may also be in contention, because he has been wicketless so far. Offspinner Nasir Aziz seems likeliest to replace him.

UAE (probable): 1 Amjad Ali, 2 Andri Berenger, 3 Krishna Chandran, 4 Khurram Khan, 5 Swapnil Patil (wk), 6 Shaiman Anwar, 7 Rohan Mustafa/Nasir Aziz, 8 Amjad Javed, 9 Mohammad Naveed, 10 Mohammad Tauqir (capt), 11 Manjula Guruge

Pitch and conditions

A warm, blue Napier day is forecast, which means conditions overhead should be as suited to run-making as those underfoot. The last time Pakistan played here, New Zealand hit 369 in the first innings.

Courtesy: ESPN