Cricket Twenty20 International Prediction
Pakistan vs New Zealand - Match Preview
🏏17 April 2023 - 20:00 GMT +0
For the second time in two days, Pakistan got the outcome they ultimately desired, albeit again not in the perfect manner. Babar Azam again desired that setting a score to chase would be the path to victory, and so it was. Pakistan improved significantly on Friday’s score of 182 all out with 192/4 from 20 overs, and whilst opponents New Zealand improved as expected, it was akin to another cakewalk.
The interesting aspect of Pakistan’s batting innings is that it was almost entirely polar with the previous one. Whereas the majority of their runs in the first T20I came from numbers three (Fakhar Zaman) and four (Saim Ayub), they recorded only two ducks in the match this time around. Opening pair Babar Azam (101no) and Mohammad Rizwan (50) bounced back from their single-digit failures for another swashbuckling partnership in which they again complemented one another with their different approaches.
Rizwan was the first to ten, 20, 30, 40 and 50, but upon his untimely dismissal when top-edging Matt Henry to mid-off, the wicketkeeper was quickly left in the shadows by his captain as Babar moved from 50 to his ninth T20 century (a tally that only the legendary Chris Gayle can top) in just 22 deliveries. The next mountain for the pair of them to climb is the feat of back-to-back 50+ scores, something they both used to find a lot easier in the past. Rizwan has now completed 15 T20I innings since September 2022 without consecutive fifties (or better), whilst Babar has gone 27 innings in two years!
New Zealand made two changes to their side with little effect. Cole McConchie came in for Ish Sodhi and bowled just one over with Rachin Ravindra stepping up from one over to four and impressing with nine dot balls and the 12th over wicket of Saim Ayub. Henry Shipley replaced the expensive Adam Milne and finished with an even poorer economy rate (13rpo) in addition to no wickets! It was an inspired batting order change that drove New Zealand’s improvement with the bat: after a sluggish but team-best 34 in the first T20I, Mark Chapman this time jumped above Daryl Mitchell to four and top-scored for his team again, clearing the ropes four times for a quickfire 65 not out.
Matt Henry did his darndest to bring about other mid-innings wobble from Pakistan, but Babar and Rizwan had by then done the damage. Another aspect of New Zealand’s improvement with the bat was opening pair Tom Latham and Chad Bowes surviving the powerplay after the team lost three powerplay wickets on Friday, but both Bowes and Latham had scored at just a run per ball in those first six overs before promptly being removed by Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim in the following pair of overs. It is indeed during that six-over period, where they have scored 73 runs and conceded 111 so far in the series, where there is further room for improvement.
⚡ Players to watch: He didn’t get enough of a mention in the preview for the second T20I, but Haris Rauf turned heads yet again after following up his first T20I four-wicket haul with his second the next day. One man he has picked off twice in this series is New Zealand’s Jimmy Neesham, who has now cleared 20 runs just once in his last 16 T20I batting innings including four not-outs. Rauf has career figures of 3/22 against Neesham in T20Is, including 2/11 in this series.
📋 Stat attack: Rachin Ravindra is the other man to have fallen twice to Rauf in this series, from just three balls faced for no runs.
- Jimmy Neesham has dismissed Imad Wasim twice in this series from just seven balls bowled for two runs conceded.
- Five of the six sixes scored by the Blackcaps in this series have come off the bat of Mark Chapman.
- New Zealand have lost their last four T20Is in Asia.
- Imad Wasim has never scored 20+ runs from nine attempts against New Zealand in T20Is (18, 8, 0, 14*, 19, 10*, 11, 16, 2)
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