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Right, let’s take a review for a moment. What happened last night? A dream of beating India in a World Cup match finally came true. But let us not get ahead of ourselves. New Zealand is Pakistan’s next opponent and given what they did a month ago, Pakistan fans will be eager for such a performance to repeat. Here’s the Match Preview between PAK vs NZ.
The win against India will still be on the line for Pakistan and why not? And it wasn’t just a win. It was pure dominance. It was also the first time that India was handed a 10-wicket loss. It was after 12 unsuccessful attempts, 29 years of wait, Pakistan did it. But as Babar Azam stated to his men, Pakistan still has a lot to go in the tournament.
New Zealand will be playing their first match in this T20 World Cup. In the warm-ups, they lost both of their matches. Both games were close. But in both of those games, the batting just couldn’t click. That has been missing for the Kiwis. The bowling, of course, looks fine at the moment. Especially with the spin duo of Ish Sodhi and Mitchell Santner.
PAK vs NZ: What are We Expecting?
What happened a month ago really left Pakistan in anger. An uncertain threat that made New Zealand leave the country hurt them. A big win on the night of October 26 is what Pakistan will be seeking. But of course, New Zealand won’t be worried about them.
Since the 2016 T20 World Cup, both sides have played nine T20Is against each other. Pakistan won six and New Zealand three. In terms of series, Pakistan won the 2017-’18 series (2-1 in New Zealand) and the 2018 series (3-0 in UAE). New Zealand won the latest in 2020-’21 (2-1 in New Zealand).
But the focus will be on UAE conditions. The Shaheens were brilliant in all departments against the Blackcaps in that series. Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam led the series with their bats. Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan led with the ball. And in the game where it is equally important as it was against India, Pakistan wants to be at their best.
For New Zealand, there will be a catch in the batting order. The top three of Martin Guptill, Devon Conway, and Kane Williamson look to be settled. But the next two-three spots seem to be a miss. The exclusion of Ross Taylor was indeed a surprise when the squad was announced and someone like him will definitely be a big miss.
PAK vs NZ: Match Details
- Date: Oct 26, 2021
- Timing: 7:00 PM PKT
- Venue: Sharjah
- Weather: It’s going to be hot and dry with no chance of interruption.
Conditions / Pitch Report:
Sharjah wicket usually tends to be slow. But the game between Sri Lanka and Bangladesh said otherwise. Teams combined scored 343 runs in Sri Lanka’s five wickets win. The game is going to be played at night. Batting second will still be favored.
Head to Head:
Matches: 24 | Pakistan: 14 | New Zealand: 10 | Tied: 00 | No-Result: 00
Pakistan: W W L L W (Completed matches, most recent first)
New Zealand: W L W L L
PAK vs NZ: Team News
Pakistan batters were hardly tested against Indian bowling. The bowlers did very well. So it is very unlikely Pakistan will make changes. Unless, of course, if an injury happens.
Pakistan’s Probable XI:
1. Babar Azam, 2. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 3. Fakhar Zaman, 4. Mohammad Hafeez, 5. Shoaib Malik, 6. Asif Ali, 7. Shadab Khan, 8. Imad Wasim, 9. Hassan Ali, 10. Haris Rauf, 11. Shaheen Afridi
2. New Zealand
New Zealand had lost both warm-up matches. They tried different combinations in their line-up. It looks like there will be two spots that will be decided later.
New Zealand’s Probable XI:
1. Martin Guptill, 2. Devon Conway (wk), 3. Kane Williamson (C), 4. Daryl Mitchell/ Mark Chapman, 5. Glenn Phillips, 6. James Neesham, 7. Mitchell Santner, 8. Kyle Jamieson, 9. Ish Sodhi, 10. Tim Southee/ Lockie Ferguson, 11. Trent Boult
PAK vs NZ: Players to Watch
1. Mohammad Hafeez, All Rounder (Pakistan)
Mohammad Hafeez just loves playing against New Zealand. Between the two sides, he is the highest run-scorer with 552 runs at an average of 40 and striking at 137. He even made his personal best of 99 not out just earlier this year. In the 2018 series, he was the highest run-scorer and played a crucial role in the series whitewash. Such performance is expected in a big game from the Professor.
2. Devon Conway, Wicket-keeper Batter (New Zealand)
Devon Conway has been in sublime form. Conway, who made his debut in 2020, has scored 473 runs in 14 matches at an average of 59 and a strike rate of 150! He is easily New Zealand’s best batter in ICC rankings. With the batting order having a bit of an issue of late, Conway will have to play a role in setting the side’s target.
3. Shadab Khan, All Rounder (Pakistan)
Shadab’s form before the India match was a concern. And many believed that being the only leg-spinner on the side, his role will be important. And that’s exactly what he did that night. Giving away only 22 runs and took a solitary wicket. On slow Sharjah wicket, once again the vice-captain will have to break in.
4. Mitchell Santner, All Rounder (New Zealand)
New Zealand’s premier all-rounder will play a big role in the World Cup. He has 60 wickets in T20Is. He had a memorable T20 World Cup debut in 2016, taking four wickets against India in a thumping 79 runs win. Coming to slower surfaces of UAE, Santner will enjoy these conditions with his spin bowling mates.
Stats and Trivia:
- Pakistan vs New Zealand in T20 World Cup: PAK 3-2 over NZ in 5 games
- Tim Southee is one wicket away from becoming the first Kiwi bowler, and third overall, to take 100 T20I wickets.
- In seven games played between Pakistan and New Zealand in UAE, New Zealand won only once.
“We have not just come here to win against India, we have come here to win the World Cup, always remember that.”
Babar Azam, Pakistan captain
“It was a really disappointing situation. I know the team that were there were very much looking forward to the occasion and playing cricket over in Pakistan, and it was a real shame that it wasn’t able to go ahead”
Kane Williamson, New Zealand captain