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New Zealand v Pakistan: Second T20 Preview

Batsman faces bowler in front of packed cordon

We take a look at the second T20 International between New Zealand and Pakistan which is set to get underway on Thursday 25 January. 

The Black Caps were dominant across all three departments in the first T20I – and are on the brink of yet another series victory. Their 2018, indeed, is starting as well as their 2017 ended.

Pakistan, meanwhile, don’t seem to know where to turn – and have copped heavy criticism from plenty of former players lately. Nothing but a complete turnaround will suffice in Auckland.

New Zealand v Pakistan | Thursday, 25 January | Eden Park, Auckland | 8:00

To Win Match
New Zealand 32/100 | Tie 35/1 | Pakistan 49/20

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New Zealand
Masterful with the new ball and equally as clever through the middle and end overs, the performance of the host attack was exemplary in Wellington. With fast bowlers Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult back in contention for selection, this will likely continue.

Seamer Tim Southee will be rested for this match, as will batsman Ross Taylor. Skipper Kane Williamson should have recovered from injury and will be back to the lead the team. Alternatively, opener Martin Guptill could be handed the stand-in captaincy.

Opting to bowl first again, if afforded the opportunity, seems the right way forward for the Kiwis. This allows them to put a fragile opposition batting order under early pressure – and make the pursuit that much easier.

Thursday’s venue hasn’t been good to New Zealand in the shortest format – they’ve won less than half of their 13 T20Is here. One of their more recent defeats at this ground was to Pakistan, in 2016, when Willliamson and the hard-hitting Colin Munro scored runs, but severely lacked support.

Here’s hoping for a stronger contest between the top ranked T20I teams. While New Zealand entirely justified their number one status, Pakistan were more like a sixth- or seventh-placed team in Wellington. Auckland insists on better.


First and foremost, Pakistan need to pick a position in the order for the talented Babar Azam and stick with it. They can’t have him floating between three and five – and expect this lack of a permanent spot to reap reward.

Then, they need to heed the advice of former fast bowler Aaqib Javed and coach Mickey Arthur. Javed wants player rotation to slow down and Arthur needs the batsmen to come to the party, soon. Both are justified in their individual insistence.

If the top- through middle-order couldn’t succeed against Southee and Rance, they’re really going to struggle against Ferguson and Boult. Hopefully, they will have plans in place for Ferguson’s outright pace and clever slower balls, which he used to great effect in the ODI series.

Now really is the time for opener Fakhar Zaman to deliver a big knock. He collected a couple of solid half-centuries in the ODIs to add to a burgeoning limited-overs career – and requires one truly significant innings to cement his worth.

Arguably above all else, Zaman and company have to be less presumptuous with their shot selection and stroke play. Yes, chances need to be calculated and risks can be taken over the top of the fielder, but not each and every time. They must be more choosy.

Verdict: New Zealand 32/100
While Pakistan’s rotation of players is questionable, New Zealand’s is not, as they have more than enough bench strength to seal the series result in Auckland and target a whitewash in Mount Maunganui on Sunday. 

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Written by Jonhenry Wilson for Hollywoodbets

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