Friday, January 22, 2016

New Zealand vs Pakistan, 3rd T20I - Crucial Series Decider at Wellington

New Zealand and Pakistan wrap up their Twenty20 series today  and there is still all to play for in the third and final fixture.
Pakistan took the opening game by 16 runs in Auckland, only for their hosts to hit back with a resounding 10-wicket win in Hamilton.
Now they square off in a decider in Wellington, the same venue that will also host the first of three one-day internationals between the nations that follows on from the T20 fixtures.
 Date: Friday, Jan. 22, 2016
Time: 7 p.m. local (6 a.m. GMT)
Venue: Westpac Stadium, Wellington, New Zealand

Who knows what to expect at the Westpac Stadium.
New Zealand were bowled out for 155 in pursuit of a target of 172 in the series opener, but they responded by successfully chasing down 169 in the second match with 14 balls to spare.
Openers Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson shared an unbroken stand of 171—a new record in the shortest format at international level—as the Kiwis stayed alive with an emphatic triumph at Eden Park.
However, there is a bigger picture to the game than just the outcome of the series.
The ICC World Twenty20 looms large on the horizon. The tournament takes place in India in March, and there is a battle to make the Black Caps' squad.
Mitchell McClenaghan has boosted his hopes of selection, with the left-arm paceman having picked up combined figures of two for 45 from eight overs.
With Corey Anderson now able to bowl again after overcoming a back injury, the home side have plenty of options despite the absence of Tim Southee.
Southee won't feature at all against Pakistan, though New Zealand coach Mike Hesson is hopeful the seamer will recover from a foot injury in time to play in the home Test series against Australia, perESPN Cricinfo.
Pakistan's concerns over their seamers have nothing to do with health.
Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Amir and Umar Gul are all fit for the tourists, but they all have economy rates in excess of nine runs per over in the series.
Shahid Afridi's side have won only one of their last five T20 games. Another defeat would hardly be ideal preparation ahead of a global tournament, even if they will feel more at home in Indian conditions.
But, defeat in the last match should not lead to a state of panic. Per statistician Shiva Jayaraman of ESPN Cricinfo, it was only the second time Pakistan have failed to defend a total of 150 or more.
Team management must decide whether to pick an unchanged XI for the third match in a row. After only 18 runs in two knocks, SohaibMaqsood's place may be under threat for the game at a ground known as "The Cake Tin."

Key Players
New Zealand
Here is a list of Williamson's last four knocks in T20 cricket: 53, 32 not out, 70 and 72 not out.
New Zealand's skipper—who has formed an excellent opening partnership with Guptill—is now a consistent performer in all formats, but his team would like him to produce another significant knock to help them seal the series.

Pakistan
While Mohammad Amir's comeback has taken a lot of the headlines,Gul has also made his return to action for Pakistan on the tour of New Zealand.
Gul—who played just two matches for his country in all formats during 2015—has picked up two wickets, but he has also leaked plenty of runs. He was once regarded as one of the best white-ball bowlers in the world, yet he needs to recapture his old form before the Twenty20 World Cup.

Squads
New Zealand
Kane Williamson (capt), Corey Anderson, Trent Boult, Grant Elliott, Martin Guptill, Mitchell McClenaghan, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, LukeRonchi (wk), Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Ross Taylor, Tom Latham, Todd Astle.

Pakistan
Shahid Afridi (capt), Aamer Yamin, Ahmed ShehzadAnwar Ali, IftikharAhmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad RizwanSaad NasimSarfraz Ahmed (wk), Shoaib Malik,Sohaib MaqsoodUmar AkmalUmar GulWahab Riaz.

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