In the first T20I match between New Zealand and Pakistan, Pakistan's bowlers Shaheen Afridi (2/27) and Haris Rauf (3/29) put on an incredible show to bring their team back into the game after Pakistan earlier ended on 153/9. In the end, Skipper Mitchell Santner and James Neesham held their nerves and finished the game with seven balls to spare.
Everyone in the Pakistand batting lineup except skipper Shadab Khan (42) and Faheem Ashraf (31) failed, which led to a below-par score on Friday. For New Zealand, debutant Jacob Duffy starred with the ball (4/33), and was the player of the match. Scott Kuggeleijn (3/27) also made a spirited comeback to the Kiwis T20I side after missing out last few games. Wicket-keeper batsmen Tim Seifert top-scored with 57 in 43 balls and laid a perfect platform for the finishers in the tricky chase.
The Pakistan team will now look to level the series by winning the second match on Sunday.
Ideal Teams for the Second T20I
The Seddon Park at Hamilton, the venue for the second T20I, has historically been a batsman's paradise. 168 is the average first innings total at this ground, and it reduces to 158 in the second innings. In recent times however, batsmen have scored at a run-rate of over 9 in most T20I matches at this venue.
Considering all these factors, we can expect a high-scoring thriller between the two sides on Sunday. New Zealand and Pakistan played two T20I matches (in 2010 and 2016) in Hamilton until now. The hosts won both the games comprehensively. In 2010 Kiwis side beat the visitors by 39 runs margin. And more recently, in 2016, New Zealand annihilated Pakistan as they won by 10-wickets. Pakistan had batted first in that match and scored a decent 168/7 in the first innings.
Umar Akmal top-scored for Pakistan and scored 56 (in 27 balls) to take his team to a respectable score. Kane Williamson and Martin Guptill opened the innings for New Zealand and attacked the bowlers to chase down the score in just 17.4 overs. Guptill remained unbeaten on 87 whereas Kane Willaimson stroked his way to 72 in 48 balls. Both Guptill and Williamson will be a part of the Kiwis squad for the upcoming game.
The Pakistan team management will have to chalk out plans for negotiating the threat the duo poses.
New Zealand will enter this contest as firm favorites to seal the 3-match series. But they cannot underestimate Pakistan, who always finds ways to perform well in the shortest format of the game, even in the absence of crucial players.
Star Kiwis players Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, who missed the first game, will return on Sunday. Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson, and Daryl Mitchell are also in the squad after missing the first game. The team management rested them as they participated in the Test Series against the West Indies team recently.
Returning Kane Williamson will take back the reins from Mitchell Santner for this game. Williamson will replace Mark Chapman in the playing XI. The Player of the match on Friday, Jacob Duffy, will miss the last two games. Duffy is not a part of the squad for the remaining T20I's against Pakistan.
Trent Boult will replace him in the bowling line-up on Sunday. Tim Southee will also come back into the side and will take Tickner's spot in XI. Mitchell Santner will sit this match out and the lanky pacer, Kyle Jamieson, will replace him.
Pakistan, on the other hand, is struggling for stability in top order. Their linchpin Babar Azam's absence is hurting them dearly. They trusted the inexperienced duo Rizwan and Shafique in the opening role, but they failed to make substantial contributions. They might get another opportunity as Pakistan team management does not have many available choices on the bench.
They might contemplate bringing in former skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed to lend some much-needed stability and experience to the lower middle-order. Their bowling attack will remain unchanged in the upcoming game. Pakistan has won 4 out of the last five T20Is' they played against New Zealand.
New Zealand's ideal XI:
Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson(c), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Kyle Jamieson, Tim Southee, Scott Kuggeleijn, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi
Pakistan's ideal XI:
Mohammad Rizwan(w), Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan(c), Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi, Haris RaufPublished 20 Dec 2020, 07:48 IST