Sarfraz Ahmed

Pakistan in search of first win against rampant New Zealand

NZ v Pak, 2nd T20I, match preview

Sarfraz Ahmed's side have just two matches to salvage some pride from this horror tour.

Overview 

New Zealand v Pakistan
Auckland
2nd T20I, 06:00 GMT

It’s been a disastrous tour for Pakistan so far. They’ve been in New Zealand nearly a whole month and have lost every game, whitewashed 5-0 in the ODIs before being comfortably beaten by seven wickets in the first T20I in Wellington. For a side who just a few months ago lifted the ICC Champions Trophy, and had won eight of their last 10 T20Is coming into this series, it’s been quite a come-down. All Sarfraz Ahmed and his men can hope for now is to register a victory in the second match in Auckland in an attempt to keep the third and final game alive.

New Zealand meanwhile are in fantastic form. They’ve now won their last 13 completed games across all formats and clearly find home conditions particularly advantageous. Kane Williamson has relied on squad depth as key fast bowlers have rotated out of the side only to be replaced by other high-performers. In the fifth ODI it was Matt Henry taking four-for, in the first T20I it was Seth Rance taking three. Pakistan are playing for pride, but the Black Caps have so far been in ruthless mood.

Key players

Trent Boult (NZ)
New Zealand’s attack leader Tim Southee, who deputised as captain for the injured Williamson in Wellington and took 3/13, is being rested. But his new-ball buddy Boult, fresh from a rest, returns, and things won’t be getting any easier for Pakistan as a result. The batting has been Pakistan’s Achilles’ heel throughout the tour and with a new-ball threat as potent as either one of the Black Caps’ dangermen, it’s hard to see their fortunes improving.

Trent Boult is set to return following a rest
Trent Boult is set to return following a rest

Sarfraz Ahmed (Pak)
If it’s been a tough tour for Pakistan, just think what it’s been like for their skipper. The poor guy’s had to front up to every press conference and explain defeat after defeat in which the same old problems have been on display. Marshalling his bowlers, who have in general been good, has not been a problem. But galvanising the batting group has proved impossible and without runs on the board there is little the captain can do. Pakistan will be desperate to put a smile back on the captain’s face; a win and a few runs of his own would do the trick.

Conditions

A smattering of cloud and a light breeze, but this is a sunny day with temperatures around 27 degrees. Humidity’s fairly high, so we could, as we have throughout the New Zealand summer, see a bit of swing at Eden Park.

Teams (possible)

New Zealand: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (c), Glenn Phillips, Tom Bruce, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Seth Rance, Trent Boult, Ish Sodhi

Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed (c), Shadab Khan, Aamer Yamin, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir

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Standings

Group A

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 England 3 +1.045 6
2 Bangladesh 3 +0.000 3
3 Australia 3 -0.992 2
4 New Zealand 3 -1.058 1

Group B

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 India 3 +1.370 4
2 Pakistan 3 -0.680 4
3 South Africa 3 +0.167 2
4 Sri Lanka 3 -0.798 2

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