Sports Monks

PAK vs NZ 2nd T2OI: Kiwis look for redemption at Abu Dhabi

Despite falling short by two runs in the first T20I of the series, the visiting New Zealand side would be hopeful for a turnaround in the second and all-important T20I at Abu Dhabi. The Black Caps have shown that they will not be pushovers and this series is very unlikely to go like the one between Pakistan and Australia last month. New Zealand are a very good T20 side and ran Pakistan close in the first game. A more polished performance in the second match could see them very well equaling the scoreline.

Pakistan, meanwhile, will be a confident lot. They are currently ranked the No.1 T20 side in the world and have won their last five T20I matches. With a great variety in their bowling and good solidity in their batting at the top, Pakistan has got most bases covered.

They would, however, be worried with how dependent the team is on their top order. Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez have been doing the bulk of the scoring for Pakistan in T20Is of late and Babar’s failure in the first game against New Zealand horribly exposed the brittleness of the Pakistani batting. The likes of Sahibzada Farhan, Asif Ali and captain Sarfaraz Ahmed himself would have to step up and be counted to make a complete batting unit.

On the other side, New Zealand captain Kane Williamson was pretty satisfied after the first game. Though his team fell agonizingly short, the fielders were electrifying on the field and the Kiwi bowlers troubled the Pakistani batsmen consistently. Adam Milne looks refreshingly good and Ish Sodhi is being his dependable self. It is New Zealand’s batting, especially their middle-order collapse in the first game, that the team would need to look at seriously.

Opener Colin Munro’s 58 in the first game was an assured knock. He would look to build on his form and hold the fort for the team. Kane Williamson (who has only 154 runs in his last 10 innings in 2018), Ross Taylor and Colin de Grandhomme would have to ensure stability in the middle.

The pitch at Sheikh Zayed Stadium should be dry and even paced. With both teams having a good bowling line up, this should be another cracker of a game. While Pakistan with their cracking form and the familiarity of playing in these conditions would have the upper hand, a New Zealand victory would really set things up nicely for the final T20I.

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