The first T20I between New Zealand and Pakistan takes place at the Eden Park on Friday.
The Kiwis come into this series on the back of an astounding series win against world champions West Indies. Despite the Kiwis resting Kane Williamson and Trent Boult, the likes of Glenn Phillips and Mitchell Santner were unstoppable.
Now, their preparations for the next T20 World Cup continue. A few new additions have been made to the Kiwi roster again with Blair Tickner and Jacob Duffy likely to feature in the bowling attack. New Zealand also boast of a solid batting unit which will give them confidence ahead of this game.
Their opponents, Pakistan, have endured a tough time in New Zealand so far, and they are yet to play a single game against the hosts. The biggest concern would be the absence of Babar Azam, who has been ruled out of the T20I series. But this opens up an opportunity for Haider Ali and Mohammad Rizwan, who could be vital against the New Zealand bowling attack.
Speaking of bowling attacks, Pakistan's pace trio of Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf would be key to their fortunes on pitches that should suit them throughout the series.
While both teams have a good mix of youth and experience in their ranks, New Zealand will start as favourites. However, you never know with the Pakistanis, given their ability to spring a surprise in this format. All in all, an entertaining game of cricket beckons at the Eden Park, with both teams looking to strike the first blow in this series.
Squads to choose from
Mitchell Santner (C), Devon Conway, Martin Guptill, Mark Chapman, Scott Kuggeleijn, James Neesham, Todd Astle, Jacob Duffy, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert, Doug Bracewell, Ish Sodhi and Blair Tickner
Shadab Khan (C), Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohd Hafeez, Usman Qadir, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Mohd Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Haris Rauf, Mohd Hasnain, Mohd Musa and Shaheen Afridi
Predicted Playing 11
Tim Seifert (WK), Martin Guptill, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner (C), Scott Kuggeleijn, Ish Sodhi, Jacob Duffy and Blair Tickner/Doug Bracewell
Mohd Rizwan (WK), Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Mohd Hafeez, Shadab Khan (C), Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi and Haris Rauf
Match: New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st T20I
Date: 18th December 2020, at 11:30 AM IST
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
The pitch at the Eden Park is a belter with a high-scoring game on the cards. The ball should skid on nicely to the bat, with the dimensions of the ground playing into the batsmen's hands as well. While the pacers should get extra bounce off the surface, there isn't much room for error for the bowlers. Both teams will ideally want to chase upon winning the toss. The teams will look to score a minimum of 170, considering the batsman-friendly nature of the pitch.
NZ vs PAK Dream11 Fantasy Suggestions
Fantasy Suggestion #1: G Phillips, M Rizwan, D Conway, H Ali, M Guptill, J Neesham, S Kuggeleijn, S Khan, D Bracewell, H Rauf and S Afridi
Captain: M Guptill, Vice-Captain: S Khan
Fantasy Suggestion #2: G Phillips, A Shafiq, D Conway, H Ali, M Guptill, J Neesham, S Kuggeleijn, M Hafeez, D Bracewell, F Ashraf and S Afridi
Captain: M Guptill, Vice-Captain: S KuggeleijnPublished 16 Dec 2020, 16:12 IST