- Pakistan and New Zealand to face off today in T20 World Cup fixture in Sharjah.
- New Zealand had lost their warm-up fixtures to Australia and England.
- T20 World Cup match between two teams will be played “in right spirits,” says New Zealand skipper.
DUBAI: After inflicting a 10-wicket humiliating defeat on arch-rival India, a confident Pakistan is fully prepared to take its revenge from New Zealand in its second T20 World Cup fixture scheduled to be played today (Tuesday) in Sharjah, UAE.
The much-anticipated Pakistan-New Zealand clash will start at Sharjah Cricket Stadium at 7:30pm.
New Zealand will be kick-starting their ICC T20 World Cup campaign today against the green shirts, who began their journey with a record-breaking win against India.
On the ICC Men’s T20 team rankings, Pakistan is placed third, while New Zealand is on fourth position. Pakistan holds a historical edge over the Kiwis in the format though, having won 14 and lost 10 contests between the sides. The last series between the two countries, in December 2020, was won by New Zealand.
The two sides were supposed to play another series in Pakistan as part of their preparation for the T20 World Cup, but the Kiwis abruptly cancelled the hotly-anticipated series minutes before the scheduled start of the ODI series in Rawalpindi, citing security threats.
PCB had expressed disappointment over New Zealand’s decision.
“Walking out of the tour by taking a unilateral approach on a security threat is very frustrating,” PCB chief Ramiz Raja had said.
‘Pakistan will not hold any grudges over New Zealand’
A day earlier, New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson had said that both Pakistan and New Zealand enjoy good relations and the T20 World Cup match between the two teams “will be played in right spirits.”
His comments came after Williamson had been asked, “if he feels there will be some acrimony or any grudges during the match due to the situation that arose after New Zealand had abandoned Pakistan’s tour last month.”
The skipper had said that it was a “disappointing” situation when the tour was called off.
“I know the team members were very much looking forward to the occasion and playing cricket in Pakistan, and it was a real shame that it wasn’t able to go ahead,” he had said on the eve of the match.
“The focus now is here at the T20 World Cup, and no doubt after last night’s performance, Pakistan have some momentum and are feeling pretty good about their cricket,” he had said.
New Zealand lost their warm-up matches
It is pertinent to mention here that New Zealand had lost their warm-up fixtures to Australia and England for the T20 World Cup.
If Pakistan succeeds to beat the Kiwis in its second match, it will go to the top of the Group 2 table. However, if New Zealand wins, it will give the team their first points and they will be one of three teams on two points.
Pakistan squad against New Zealand to remain unchanged
The Pakistani squad for the New Zealand T20 World Cup clash will remain unchanged — and the same team which defeated India would step on the ground today, sources told Geo News.
Expected playing XI
Babar Azam (capt), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi
New Zealand probable XI
Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson (capt), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Kyle Jamieson, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee