In the fast-paced world of T20s, dead rubber clashes are no longer seen as buzzkills. They bring sides opportunities and a sense of freedom. While Pakistan desperately needs the two, it’s more of a luxury for New Zealand.
Coming into the series, Pakistan had the wood over New Zealand, having won here in 2017 and the reverse fixtures in the UAE. A record few other teams could boast of. However, performances this time around would have blighted those memories and suggest how little past records mean on the field.
While New Zealand won the first two T20Is rather comfortably to seal the series, the win margin may not be reflective of how deep Pakistan managed to take those encounters. They had their moments, rather half-chances, but a sniff was all they had to be content with.
As for New Zealand, things couldn’t have been merrier. The manner of victories this summer so far have been an indictment of the strong depth and plentiful resources available to them. More than the resources, it’s how they managed them that has often proved to be the difference between them and the visiting sides.
Pakistan having won the toss on both the occasions opted to bat and could hardly vindicate their decision. Should they win it again, they could be tempted to chase to give their batsmen a sense of clarity and purpose. Although the last time the Kiwis were asked to set a target, they came away with an insurmountable 237 on the board against the West Indies.
NZ v PAK 3rd T20I match details
Date: December 22, 2020 (Tuesday)
Time: 11:30 IST / 19:00 Local
Venue: McLean Park, Napier
Located on the eastern coast of the North Island, Napier is one of the driest cities of New Zealand. The weather forecast for tomorrow is expected to be cloudy with temperatures around 21 C.
Despite having hosted just 2 T20Is, McLean Park is considered to be one of the world’s highest scoring grounds presently. Unsurprisingly, the pitch plays out in favour of the batsmen with England registering their highest T20I total (241/3) little over a year ago. Although, the wicket tends to slow up as the game progresses.
NZ v PAK Predicted XIs
Kane Williamson, having recently embraced fatherhood, returned to register a well-made 57* alongside the in-form Tim Seifert (84*) in Hamilton. Kyle Jamieson and Scott Kuggeleijn endured tough spells and the latter could make way for local boy Doug Bracewell. Ish Sodhi could be rested with Todd Astle in line for his first T20I appearance since the tour to Sri Lanka in 2019.
New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Kyle Jamieson, Doug Bracewell, Tim Southee, Todd Astle, Trent Boult.
Babar Azam’s injury was always going to prove impactful for Pakistan but with it came an opportunity for the youngsters to stake their claim for a spot in the XI. Having failed to make a positive impression, Abdullah Shafique and Khushdil Shah could make way for all-rounder Hussain Talat or Sarfaraz Ahmed. Shaheen Afridi could be rested given that he will be a key member of the Test squad for the Boxing Day Test.
Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Haider Ali, Hussain Talat/Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan, Sarfaraz Ahmed/Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi/Mohammad Musa/Hasnain, Haris Rauf.
NZ v PAK 3rd T20I live streaming details
Live Stream: Fancode / NZC YouTubePublished 22 Dec 2020, 08:25 IST