Weekend Sport: Five things to watch (December 7-9)

Blackcaps vs Pakistan - third test
7pm Friday (NZT)
Abu Dhabi, UAE


At 60/4 and still trailing by 14 runs, the Blackcaps seemed unlikely to take the third cricket test against Pakistan into Friday night's (NZT) final day.

Enter 'Captain Kane' Williamson and his 19th test century to carry New Zealand into a position where they may actually win, touch wood.

They now lead by 198 runs, with Henry Nicholls still at the crease and approaching his third century.

While the stunning first-test victory surprised everyone, our cricketers have now created an air of expectation over this result, which is perhaps a recipe for heartbreak.

But Williamson would have hoped for this exact scenario when he won the toss and, effectively, elected to bowl last on a crumbling pitch.

Their current lead is already more than the biggest score ever chased down a the final innings on this ground.

Put your feet up and prepare for a late night.  

All Blacks Sevens in IRB World Series
11:49pm Saturday (NZT)
Cape Town, South Africa


For all their historical dominance - 12 titles in 19 years - New Zealand haven't won the men's world series since 2014.

But since Scot Clark Laidlaw took the reins this year, the national sevens side has returned to the top of the heap, claiming Commonwealth Games gold and a World Cup title.

There's a very strong case for him winning Coach of the Year at next week's NZ Rugby Awards.

All Blacks Sevens celebrate
All Blacks Sevens celebrate their Dubai victory. Photo credit: Photosport

New Zealand got their 2018/19 campaign off to a perfect start last week at Dubai, defeated the United States for their first title there since 2009.

With an injury list as long as your arm, the All Blacks Sevens face an even tougher challenge at Cape Town.

They open their account against Zimbabwe just before midnight Saturday, followed by Samoa at 3:57am Sunday, and hosts and reigning world series champions South Africa three hours later.

If they emerge safely from pool play, they will likely face either Australia or Scotland in Sunday's quarter-finals.

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Chicago Bulls
2pm Saturday (NZT)


After opening the NBA season with four straight losses, the Thunder are now riding a four-game winning streak and sit second in the Western Conference - half a game behind Denver Nuggets - with a 16-7 record.

Over that streak, Kiwi centre Steven Adams has averaged 12.0 points and 8.3 rebounds, while shooting 62.5% from the field.

Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook
Steven Adams and Russell Westbrook consult mid-game. Photo credit: Reuters.

That's actually slightly down on what's looming as a career season, where Adams has begun to gain recognition as one of the league's very best middle-men.

Watch his expressionless demeanour, even after throwing down a dunk or blocking a shot, always thinking about his next move.

A Thunder win over the 5-20 Bulls and a Denver loss to Charlotte Hornets, also Sunday, would see OKC atop the west.

Australia vs India - first test
1pm Saturday/Sunday (NZT)


There's only one thing better than the Blackcaps winning a cricket test - and that's the Blackcaps winning a test AND the Aussies losing one.

Australian cricket is at a low ebb right now, still recovering from the notorious sandpaper incident, and really missing suspended batting stars Steve Smith and David Warner.

Aaron Finch is bowled
Aaron Finch is bowled in Australia's first innings. Photo credit: AAP

They're up against it this weekend, facing the world's top test side at home, having already lost a series to that same Pakistani team in October.

NZ Breakers vs Sydney Kings
2pm Sunday (NZT)
Spark Arena, Auckland


The ANBL season is slowly slipping away from the Auckland-based side.

Since winning back-to-back games against Cairns and Brisbane in early November, they have dropped four straight, including a tough home-and-away doubleheader against competition leaders Perth two weeks ago.

Their frustration is beginning to show, with coach Kevin Braswell twice fined for criticising referees and forward Tai Wesley also pinged for targeting officials.

Breakers coach Kevin Braswell pleads
Breakers coach Kevin Braswell pleads for a call. Photo credit: Photosport

While foul counts have weighed heavily against the Breakers, they'd be better looking in the mirror at how they can improve their inadequacies in this area of their game. 

They also haven't really delivered on their promise of playing an up-tempo style - their 89.7 points a game fall well short of the league-leading Adelaide 36ers (94.9).

Led by former NBA champion Andrew Bogut, Sydney have already beaten the Breakers twice this season, so this looms as a tough game to turn their season around.