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Can Kiwis halt PAK’s glorious opening start?


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Sharjah – United Arab Emirates, First Published Oct 26, 2021, 6:30 AM IST

It has been a splendid start for Pakistan in the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, winning its opening game emphatically. However, it would again face a tough encounter against New Zealand in Tuesday’s Group 2 Super 12 clash at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. It would be New Zealand’s opening game of the contest as we present the preview.

Current form
Pakistan has had a mixed outing in the warm-ups, winning and losing one each. At the same time, it defeated arch-rival India by a massive margin of ten wickets, as it was its maiden win against the side in the tournament and any World Cup encounter. As for New Zealand, it has had a rocky start to the competition, losing both its warm-ups, while it also lost its previous T20I series in Bangladesh.

LIVE SCORECARD: ICC T20 World Cup 2021 – Pakistan vs New Zealand (Super 12)

Team strength & weaknesses, and players to watch out
As far as Pakistan is concerned, its strength lies in its batting, with 12 batters in the team and nine formidable bowlers. Interestingly, it has just three specialist bowlers, as the department could unexpectedly become Pakistan’s weakness. The players to watch out would be skipper Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Imad Wasim, Sarfaraz Ahmed and Shaheen Afridi.

New Zealand, on the other hand, has an evenly balanced side in all departments. However, it has just a couple of specialist batters, which could make things just critical for the side. Among the players to watch out would be skipper Kane Williamson, along with Martin Guptill, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee.

ALSO READ: T20 World Cup 2021, South Africa vs Windies (Super 12) Preview: Teams look to shrug off opening hiccup

Injury concerns, head-to-head, weather and pitch report
None of the sides has any injury concerns for now. The two teams have faced off on 24 instances, with Pakistan having a lead of 14-10, while in the competition, of the five meetings, it leads 3-2. In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), they have played each other seven times, with Pakistan leading 6-1. The weather in Dubai would be hot with 34 degrees of expected temperature and 48% humidity. The track would play out even while winning the toss, and bowling first would be ideal.

Probable XI
Pakistan:
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf and Shaheen Afridi.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson.

ALSO READ: T20 World Cup 2021 – ICC fines Liton Das, Lahiru Kumara for violating code of conduct

Fantasy XI
Batters:
Guptill, Williamson, Azam (c), Asif- Azam would give the perfect start, while Guptill can dominate at number three. As for Williamson and Asif, they consolidate in the middle-order. Azam’s reliability makes him the skipper.
Wicketkeeper: Rizwan- He is the man in form who was simply phenomenal as an opener in the last game and is sure to continue with the same.
All-rounders: Neesham, Shadab- Both have been in decent form with the bowl.
Bowlers: Boult, Ferguson, Hasan, Afridi (vc)- An all-out pace attack comprising the four is expected to heavily dominate, while Afridi’s fiery form makes him the deputy captain.

Match details
Date and day:
October 26, 2021 (Tuesday)
Venue: Sharjah Cricket Stadium
Time: 7.30 PM (IST)
Where to watch (TV): Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi (Also available in HD, along with regional languages)
Where to watch (Online): Hotstar

Last Updated Oct 26, 2021, 6:30 AM IST



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