Cricket Twenty20 International Prediction
Pakistan vs New Zealand - Match Preview
🏏 20 April 2023 - 20:00 GMT +0
Bereft of as many as nine walk-up starters in their strongest T20I team due to the Indian Premier League, New Zealand sorely need the most senior members of the remaining crew to stand up and bring their less experienced teammates with them. When they secured a narrow four-run win against Pakistan in the third T20I at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium to keep the series alive, they got it in spades. Off they go to Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, which last hosted international T20 cricket in November 2020 in vastly different circumstances.
Pakistan captain Babar Azam praised his bowlers for being “superb throughout the series so far” as they restricted the tourists to a third consecutive score of under 165, which is more often than not a winning formula given chasing teams had a 69% success rate in Lahore with a target of less than 180, but this time the batting let them down. The opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan failed together for a second time in this series, and this time around there was no assistance in the middle order.
32yo veteran Iftikhar Ahmed was sent out at number eight, behind bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi, and that too turned out to be a vital mistake from team management. Iftikhar was the only batter in the entire match to finish with a strike rate of 200+ when clubbing six sixes on the way to a valiant 60 from 24 balls, and had he instead faced the six balls that Shaheen did, on that trajectory Pakistan would be taking an unassailable 3-0 lead to Rawalpindi.
Instead, it’ll be 2-1 to the hosts ahead of this pair of games in ‘Pindi’, the two of which will be the fourth and fifth T20Is to be held at the venue. Zimbabwe toured for a three-game series played behind closed doors due to COVID, and all three games turned out to be complete mismatches. Pakistan chased down three consecutive scores of under 160 at a series run rate of 8.59rpo, which in itself could be more reflective of the scoring to expect than the average first innings total.
ore recently, Rawalpindi hosted 11 Pakistan Super League games and produced a ridiculous number (12) of 200+ scores, including a jaw-dropping match aggregate of 515 runs between Multan Sultans (262/3) and Quetta Gladiators (253/8) that stood as a T20 world record for only two weeks! How dearly New Zealand would therefore love their fastest scorers such as Finn Allen, Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway for this series instead of captain Tom Latham, who despite his match-winning score of 64 on Monday,is going at a rate of just 6.64rpo in this series. More must be expected of senior figures Daryl Mitchell (top series score of 33), Will Young (17) and Jimmy Neesham (15) if they are to get anywhere near 200 runs in Rawalpindi.
It was Neesham (3/38) who led a clutch bowling effort in their third T20I win that saw him take the vital wicket of Iftikhar when Pakistan needed five runs to win with three balls remaining, whilst seeing five separate bowlers (all but Ben Lister) amongst the wickets and all with single digit economy rates illustrated what a wonderful team performance it was. Just as they needed to do, New Zealand continued to learn quickly on the fly and ought to boast a lot of confidence heading to Rawalpindi.
⚡ Key battle: Pakistan speedster Haris Rauf is the only bowler to dismiss one batter three times in this series, boasting figures of 3/16 from 11 balls bowled to Kiwi bowling all-rounder Jimmy Neesham in this series (and 4/27 from 22 overall)!
📋 Stat attack: Pakistan’s batters have struck the most sixes in all three games so far, accumulating 22 to New Zealand’s 11.
- Fakhar Zaman was dismissed for 21 or fewer runs in each of his three Rawalpindi T20I innings.
- Babar Azam, on the other hand, made half-centuries in both!
- Daryl Mitchell was dismissed and caught off a fast bowler in all three of his innings for this series.
- Matt Henry, Haris Rauf, Jimmy Neesham and Shadab Khan have taken wickets in all three games so far.
- Adam Milne now has career figures of 3/9 from 12 T20I balls bowled by Babar Azam after taking his wicket twice in this series.
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