02:00 PM UTC: New Zealand vs Pakistan, Group 2, Super 12s, ICC Men’s T20 World Cup
New Zealand will begin its T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan. Pakistan comes into this game after a ten-wicket win versus India and showed control in all facets of the game. Meanwhile, New Zealand is a formidable unit and presents heavy top-order and a piercing bowling lineup, thus having an incredible balance in all departments.
The battle of pace
Shaheen Shah Afridi engulfed the top-two batter in the last game through his inswing delivery and raw pace, he will be in business, here again, becoming one of the most intimidating shorter format ballers. Apart from Shaheen, Haris Rauf showed incredible maturity and growth in his balling, bowling as per the field placement. Hasan Ali went for 44 runs but took two crucial wickets too. The pace bowling is the key for this Pakistani outfit. But we can’t discount how well spinners Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan did in the last game.
If Pakistan is full of young pacers, the New Zealand duo of Southee and Boult has been bowling together for many years and both present a combination of pace and accuracy. While both the bowlers are at times costly, they can change the game with their striking abilities. However, their third pacer Kyle Jamieson may as well define the trajectory for this team with his height that enables bounce accompanied by a ton of pace. If Lockie Ferguson plays then we will have two teams with exciting express pace attacks.
The heavyweight batters
New Zealand has one of the most attacking and crisp top-order. Guptill although not in the best form can change the game with his ability to hit big shots off his legs. Meanwhile, Tim Seifert, Devon Conway, and Glenn Phillips are also excellent strikers. Kane Williamson does a tremendous holding role and knows when to put the gears on the innings.
Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam put on a show in the last game but we didn’t have the look at the rest of the batting. The middle-order can show vulnerabilities because players keep getting in and out and this causes an imbalance in long term. However, we can’t omit the fact that Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez have a ton of experience in the middle though the lower-middle order can showcase some fragility. Nonetheless, this promises to be a cracker of game.