The 19th match of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup will pit two cricketing titans from Group 2 against one other. Pakistan will be hoping to ride the momentum as they dominated India in the first match, whereas New Zealand, the Number 1 T20 side will hoping to start their journey with a win against a top contender.
Kane Williamson was questioned on the eve of the game if this would be a “grudge match” for Pakistan. After all, New Zealand’s trip cancellation last month threatened to undo decades of work by Pakistan, which has been working hard to re-establish itself as cricket’s safe haven.
The consequences were seen almost immediately when England cancelled their visit, putting international cricket’s future in Pakistan in jeopardy and upsetting Pakistan’s preparations for the T20 World Cup. It’ll be interesting to see how both teams perceive this match
Head to Head
Pakistan has an edge over New Zealand by a score of 14 to 10. In the UAE, Kane Williamson’s side had lost six of their seven T20Is against Pakistan. Mohammad Rizwan’s 59-ball 89 set up a Pakistan victory in a dead rubber in Napier the previous time these two sides met, but it wasn’t an easy one.
What to expect
Both Williamson and Coach Stead have hinted at a versatile lineup that can adjust to the three venues’ different obstacles. NZ might “throw the odd thing back at the opposition that they possibly think won’t happen,” according to Stead. Expect a few surprises as a result of this. Although Daryl Mitchell started one of the warm-up games, Tim Seifert or Devon Conway are expected to start with Guptill at the top.
Rizwan and Babur, Pakistan’s opening combination, will be hoping for a repeat performance. Imad Wasim snuck in two quiet powerplay overs against India, but Pakistan might be tempted to go with Shadab Khan against New Zealand. Martin Guptill as he has a favorable matchup against the legspinner, who has dismissed him three times in 18 deliveries.
Predicted playing XI
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert(wk), Kane Williamson(c), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Daryl Mitchell/Todd Astle, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
Pakistan: Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi