About the Match
New Zealand is flying high with two wins in a row, defeating hosts India and Australia in a convincing way; they are at the top in Group 2 with 4 points and will now face Pakistan, who are placed 2nd with 2 points after suffering defeat against India in the last match, on 22nd March at Mohali. While the Kiwis are in a comfortable situation and will be eager to continue with their winning spree, Pakistan is in pressure to win the upcoming contest; both teams will try to dominate the other on Tuesday.
The spinners yet again performed superbly as Santner and Sodhi took 3 wickets between them and stifled the Aussies; McClenaghan took 3-17 and Corey Anderson took 2 scalps to deny them the winning runs. Earlier, Guptill and Williamson put up a 61-run opening stand while Munro and Elliott kept the scoreboard ticking; the bowlers defended 143 runs successfully to steer the team to victory.
Against India, the batsmen struggled to build a strong foundation but a spirited effort by Anderson, Santner and Ronchi helped them put up a respectable 126 runs on a pitch assisting the bowlers. Defending the low total, Santner and Sodhi demolished the opposition; while Santner took a brilliant 4-11, Sodhi bowled with all his heart as he took 3-18. Nathan McCullum and Milne contributed well to restrict the Indians and get them all-out for just 79 runs thereby giving them a big win by 47 runs.
The Kiwis have found a winning spin combination and are likely to go with the same bowling squad against Pakistan but the batsmen will need to be cautious against the Pakistani speedsters on Tuesday.
Put to bat first, Pakistani openers Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad gave a rapid start to the innings building a 38-run stand; however, they lost wickets at quick intervals and despite Umar Akmal and Shoaib Malik posting a 41-run stand for the 4th wicket, they couldn’t keep the momentum going and finished with 118 runs on board. Bowlers Mohammad Sami and Mohammad Amir dismissed the Indian openers by the 5th over and caused upset for the hosts; Sami and Wahab Riaz came back to take a wicket each but couldn’t find an answer for Kohli who steered the Indians to their first win.
Against Bangladesh, the batting line-up had combined well as Ahmed Shehzad scored a well-made 52 off 39 while Mohammad Hafeez posted a brilliant 64 off 42 deliveries. Shahid Afridi came up the order and blitzed a quick fire 49 off 19 to build a target of 202 runs for the opposition, which the bowlers defended successfully to win the match by 55 runs.
Speedsters Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Irfan and Wahab Riaz are performing well with quick breakthroughs; spinners Afridi, Imad Wasim and Malik are effective in containing the run-flow but they need more variety in the spin attack. If chasing a target, Pakistan must hold their nerves together against the Kiwis, who can be ruthless with their superior spin and pace attack.
New Zealand is on fire with their two consecutive wins against strong teams like India and Australia; Pakistan has suffered a setback but will put their best foot forward to make a comeback here. The contest could go down to the wire, but we feel New Zealand has the edge to win the match.