Pakistan vs New Zealand, 19th Match, Group 2 (N), Sharjah, Oct 26 2021
The achievement of beating India in a World Cup will certainly define this tournament for Pakistan. Beating India might not bring its own trophy, but for a significant portion of Pakistan supporters, opening their account against India was really what mattered in this tournament. To shake off that high and have to go again less than 48 hours later carries its own problems, but perhaps its own opportunities too.
This might both be the best and worst time to play for Pakistan. The euphoria they’re on likely won’t be bettered all tournament, but recollecting the intensity necessary to face their next opponents, New Zealand, cannot be easy.
The celebrations might have carried on long into the Dubai night, but professionalism, and the necessity of sticking to the schedule, demands all those emotions be kept aside for what will follow in Sharjah on Tuesday.
If the India game carried the emotions of an epic arch-rivalry, there’s a different kind of tense energy to the match against New Zealand. This, remember, is the side that cancelled tour of Pakistan minutes before the first game was due to be played citing security problems.
The spiraling chain reaction that followed saw England pull out, too, and the entire home season for Pakistan was eventually fallen apart. If a surging Pakistan can find a way to channel that righteous anger in Sharjah tomorrow, New Zealand have quite the task on their hands.
Injury/Availability Concerns: Everyone is available for selection but it’s highly unlikely that Pakistan will change a winning combination.
Probable XI: Babar Azam(c), Mohammad Rizwan(w), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Afridi
Injury/Availability Concerns: Kane Williamson, who did not bat in the second warm-up match, has said that his troublesome elbow is still a “work in progress.” New Zealand will play 4 games in 8 days later in the Super 12s and coach Gary Stead conceded that managing Williamson’s workload through that week could be difficult.
Probable XI: Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert(wk), Kane Williamson(c), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Jimmy Neesham, Mitchell Santner, Daryl Mitchell/Todd Astle, Lockie Ferguson, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
• Pakistan have won three of the five T20 World Cup matches against New Zealand, though Kane Williamson’s men won the most recent encounter in Mohali in 2016
• Tim Southee is one wicket away from becoming the third bowler to bag 100 T20I wickets after Shakib al Hasan and Lasith Malinga.
• Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan have had three 150+ stands in 2021 alone.