New Zealand vs Pakistan: New Zealand is just 1 win away from officially entering into semis. Though they most probably will be among the top 4 teams qualifying for the crucial knock-out, they will look to seal their berth early-on, as they play against Pakistan. The 33rd match of the ICC World Cup will feature the Blackcaps take on the Men-in-Green at Edgbaston Stadium, Birmingham.
While the Kiwis have managed to remain unbeaten in the tournament, Pakistan have faced stiff challenge after embarrassing losses against arch-rivals India, Australia and West Indies. Amid huge outpour of criticism coming in from across Pakistan cricket fans, the Men-in-Green bounced back against South Africa. The team would be delighted to find their form back and they will look to continue the momentum in this game too. For Pakistan though, every match from hereon is a do-or-die match, in order to keep their semi-final hopes alive.
CLINICAL KIWIS vs MERCURIAL PAKISTAN
When the tournament’s most successful team faces the most unpredictable team, the result of the game can turn either way. As we move closer to the second leg of the campaign, games like these make it even more interesting, as there is an uncertainty which glooms around everyone, while deciding the winner of the game. While the recent performance and the stats favour New Zealand, Pakistan is one such team that can’t be rubbed off. They are currently like a cornered Lion which can prove to be more dangerous.
Be that as it may, but Kane Williamson and co will look to end the suspense and finish off things in their favour. They have performed brilliantly so far in the tournament with the Captain himself leading the charge. They showed brilliance in all three departments of the game, where contributions have come in from every player featured. After Australia became the first team to cruise into the semi-finals, New Zealand will look to join the elite list as well.
Pakistan, on the other hand, have had a slow start to their campaign and that has hurt them at this stage. Though there are many expectations from the fans, there’ll always be a sense of scepticism when Pakistan take the field.
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While the current stats put New Zealand on top, the overall stats show a different picture. Pakistan and New Zealand have faced each other in a total of 106 matches out of which Pakistan won 54, while the Kiwis won 48. In the World Cups, the two teams have clashed with other 8 times with Pakistan winning 6 games and New Zealand winning 2.
While the overall stats & the world cup fixtures have favoured the Men-in-Green, the stats from the last 4 years drastically changes the count. Ever since April 2015, the two teams have played 10 matches against each other, where Pakistan only managed to win 1 match, while New Zealand won 8, with 1 match getting abandoned.
|OVERALL||LAST 4 YEARS||IN WC|
|Matches Played||106||Matches Played||10||Matches Played||8|
|New Zealand||54||New Zealand||8||New Zealand||2|
Although the skies will be clad in dark clouds, the chances of they causing a shower are expected to be very thin. The clouds will continue to cast gloomy shadows through the course of the match. The temperature may vary between 14 to 19 degrees Celsius, making for cool conditions for the game Towards the start, there may be a higher percentage of humidity in the air, which is expected to come down as the game progresses.
The pitch at Edgbaston in Birmingham had helped the bowlers in the last encounter. Similar conditions can be expected in the upcoming game. The pacers may derive good assistance from the pitch, hence restricting the opposition in recording big scores. Considering the pitch and weather conditions, it is most likely that the team winning the toss will elect to field first. If the chasing team manages to claim few early wickets in first innings, they could restrict the opposition to low scores, thereby making it easy to chase.
Coming off a victory from the previous game, Pakistan will look to continue with the same team for this match as well. It is about time that their openers Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq give the team a good start and build a strong partnership. Their top performer Babar Azam also needs to convert his scores into match-winning knocks. Mohammed Hafeez will be bringing in his experience into play and has been in a decent form too.
One thing that changed for Pakistan significantly was the decision to replace seasoned Shoaib Malik with Haris Sohail. It turned out to be their masterstroke, as the left-hand batsmen went onto score 89 in the previous innings. Their bowling attack is led by Mohammad Amir, who is in a phenomenal form after taking 15 wickets in the tournament so far. His counterpart Shadab Khan also showed promising attack after picking up 3 crucial wickets from the previous match.
PROBABLE XI: Imam-ul-Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & wk), Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Shah Afridi
Colin Munro has not been able to help his team, apart from a star performance against Sri Lanka, where he scored an unbeaten 58. He has been failed to perform ever since. The team may consider to sit him out for this game and bring Henry Nicholls in his place. Martin Guptill is yet to perform to his full ability. The team has been heavily depending on the heroics of Captain Kane and Ross Taylor; the team will expect them to continue putting runs on the table. The big worry for Kiwis is also the poor form of Tom Latham. He will need to deliver to put his team in the front seat.
After scoring 60 versus the Proteas, Colin de Grandhomme comes into this game with good confidence. James Neesham makes for the essential all-rounder in the team. The bowling department is in the safe hands of Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson, who have been consistent in claiming wickets.
PROBABLE XI: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro/Henry Nicholls, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Trent Boult, Lockie Ferguson
PLAYERS TO WATCH OUT FOR
Martin Guptill – New Zealand | Babar Azam – Pakistan
FANFIGHT FANTASY CRICKET TEAMS FOR NEW ZEALAND vs PAKISTAN
TV – Star Sports
Match Timings – 15:00 IST; 10:30 AM local
The prediction is for New Zealand to win the match.
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