About the Match
New Zealand registered a 5-0 whitewash against Pakistan in the ODI series and is now geared up to host the visitors in a 3-match T20 series, starting with the 1st T20 at Wellington on 22nd January. Pakistan fought back in the last ODI match with a target of 272 to chase but were contained by the Kiwis bowling attack that has been in tremendous form; the visitors are eager to bounce back with a face-saving win and the T20 format could well bring out some heroics from their camp. It needs to be seen if New Zealand continues its domination or if the Pakistanis can make amends here on Monday.
Kane Williamson will yet again lead the team consisting of players like Martin Guptill, Colin de Grandhomme, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Tom Bruce, who have been doing well with the bat and add depth to the top and middle-order. All-rounder Anaru Kitchen and Glenn Phillips can keep the scoreboard ticking, and showcase the deep batting line-up the Kiwis have. Guptill’s well-made 100 in the 5th ODI helped the hosts take the total to 271 batting first; Ross Taylor and Colin Munro contributed with 59 and 34 runs respectively. The bowlers defended the total with ease thanks to a 4-wicket haul by pacer Matt Henry and 3 wickets by spinner Mitchell Santner.
Santner and Ish Sodhi will bring their spin skills to the table in the T20s also while Tim Southee, Ben Wheeler, Seth Rance and Colin Munro could provide quick breakthroughs with their pace. Southee has been in tremendous form while Grandhomme showcased his all-rounder skills through the ODIs and is a strong asset for the team.
The Kiwis have excelled in the 50-over format and are well placed to repeat the winning performance here in the T20s as well with a well-balanced team of young talent and experienced players.
Chasing 272 runs in the 5th ODI, the top-order collapsed under pressure; Haris Sohail posted 63 off 87 while Shadab Khan scored 54 off 77 to try and revive the innings. The lower order fought hard with players like Faheem Ashraf, Aamer Yamin and Mohammad Nawaz scoring well but they fell short of the target by 15 runs. Earlier, speedster Rumman Raees claimed 3-67 while medium-pacer Faheem Ashraf took 2 wickets to contain the Kiwis to 271.
They have spinners Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan, who could stifle the opponents and speedsters Aamer Yamin, Rumman Raees, Faheem Ashraf and Umar Amin bring depth to the attack. If they can break the Kiwi partnerships at steady intervals, then the visitors could do well in the T20s.
The batting line-up has experienced players like Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed and Babar Azam, who could help set a good total whether batting first or during chase. Fakhar Zaman and Haris Sohail are strong assets in the top-order while all-rounders Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan and others can contribute well under crunch situations. Pakistan could put up a good fight to try and make a comeback here.
New Zealand won the ODI series 5-0 and have a high morale in the team to repeat the performance again; although Pakistan has a good record in the shorter format of the game, we feel that the hosts will reign supreme yet again in the first T20