Hollywoodbets Sports Blog: New Zealand vs Pakistan: First T20 Preview

New Zealand vs Pakistan: First T20 Preview

Kane Williamson

Pakistan begin their tour of New Zealand in earnest on Friday 18 December when the nations clash in the first T20I at Eden Park in Auckland.

Image Copyright - Steve Haag Sports

Two women looking excitedly at cellphone

New Zealand have successfully seen off the West Indies to open their summer and now face the prospect of a tricky Pakistan outfit who have plenty of cricket behind them.

New Zealand vs Pakistan | 18 December 2020 | Eden Park, Auckland | 08:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 52/100
Tie 25/1
Pakistan 31/20

New Zealand
New Zealand will rest Kane Williamson, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Daryl Mitchell for the first T20I with Mitchell Santner named as stand-in skipper.

Devon Conway is likely to be paired up with Martin Guptill as the openers for the Black Caps although wicketkeeper Tim Seifert is also an option.

Ish Sodhi and Todd Astle will serve as spin support to skipper Santner.

Jimmy Neesham's form as a finisher was a great boost to the Black Caps in their series against the West Indies, and he could just be the deciding factor for the team.

The Black Caps bowlers should by now be well-versed in the challenges of Eden Park's short straight boundaries.

Pakistan
Pakistan have suffered the loss of their skipper, Babar Azam, to a thumb injury but the injury could be the opening that Haider Ali needs to complete a stunning ascension onto the international stage.

It will be a series all about youth for Pakistan who have left Mohammad Amir, Shoaib Malik and Asad Shafiq at home with youngsters Zeeshan Malik, Danish Aziz, Imran Butt, Rohail Nazir and Amad Butt awaiting opportunities.

Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq find themselves out of fashion but at least in the squad and the absence of the skipper will put a wait on the pair.

In terms of bowling experience, Wahab Riaz will be required to take the younger bowlers under his wing.

Pakistan have been locked away in isolation for some time and will be fit to burst when they finally get out on the park, but they might struggle initially.

Verdict: New Zealand 52/100
Even much-changed the Black Caps should have the goods to come out on top.

Written by James Richardson.

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