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Pakistan vs New Zealand: T20I battle begins today in UAE
- Updated: October 31, 2018
After demolishing Australia in the three-match T20I series, Pakistan is ready to host the challenge of New Zealand in the shortest format. Number one ranked team in the world, Pakistan, has won 10 consecutive T20I series and will be aiming to clinch the 11th as well. New Zealand have not played international cricket for the last seven months and now face the stern test against a top side in the testing conditions of UAE.
In the recently concluded whitewash of Australia, Pakistan wielded the bat first in all three games and successfully defended the totals against hapless Australia. Babar Azam, who averages 56.56 in T20Is, finished as the top run-getter for Pakistan in the three-match series. He will be the main threat for New Zealand bowling attack while Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Imad Wasim, and Faheem Ashraf shall trouble the Kiwi batting lineup.
Recently turned father of a baby boy Shoaib Malik, will join the team before the match. Pakistan will miss the services of Fakhar Zaman who is nursing his knee injury. Remaining of the squad is fit and raring to go.
Speaking before the game, Pakistan Captain Sarfraz Ahmed said, “It is an important series for us. The previous series against Australia is history now. New Zealand is a good team, and they have been performing in T20 cricket. We will try to carry the momentum. The first match of is always of extreme importance. So, we will try to begin the series on a good note.“
Ranked fifth in the ICC T20I rankings, New Zealand Captain Kane Williamson acknowledged the challenge posed by Pakistan. Williamson said, “Obviously, Pakistan is a strong side. That’s something we‘ve known for a long time. Coming over here (UAE) they‘re extremely strong in these conditions and their world ranking suggests that as well, and they‘ve had a lot of success in recent times, so we know it’s a tough challenge but one we‘re looking forward to.“
New Zealand will be without Martin Guptill, who has been ruled out of the series due to the calf strain. Their batting will rely on the mercurial opening batsman Colin Munro and the powerful middle-order of Williamson and Ross Taylor. All-rounders Corey Anderson and Colin De Grandhomme will be supporting the bowling lineup of Tim Southee, Adam Milne and Lockie Ferguson.
1st T20I, Pakistan vs New Zealand (8:00 PM GMT)
Venue: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
Pakistan: Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Mohammad Hafeez, Sahibzada Farhan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan Shanwari, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf
New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Corey Anderson, Mark Chapman, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor