Auckland -  Pakistan cricket team is looking to bounce back in the Twenty20 International series against New Zealand as they will take on the Kiwis in the second T20 match today (Thursday) in Auckland.

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The three-match T20 series between New Zealand and Pakistan might lack the bedlam and the hype but it is expected to be far more competitive and intriguing contest than the ODI series. After a nightmare in ODI series, Pakistan has already suffered a humiliating loss and as the scoreline suggests, Kiwis go one up in the short series. Kiwis once again proved their stature in formidable 20 overs format outplaying the opposition in all three departments.

With vaunted firepower of New Zealand pace attack, the wickets kept tumbling for Pakistan and later by brilliant pyrotechnics show from Colin Munro, Kiwis easily chased the total to underline their burgeoning T20 credentials. Making Pakistan’s task harder to square the series and bring some much important fight. Going into the second T20 International, which is scheduled to take place at Eden Park, Auckland is expected to bring some firepower and an enthralling bat and bowl contest.

Pakistan’s maligned batting failed to incandescent the spark making difficult for the middle-order batsman to get going. However, the superstars Fakhar Zaman and Umar Amin faced a rare failure and will look to bounce back in the day game. Jarringly for such a dominant home-soil side, Pakistan looks an over-match in front of New Zealand’s confidence. It will be interesting to see if Pakistan can turn things around in all-important second T20 International and give their fans something to cheer.

The Pakistan team management has a lot to think before throwing their cards for the second encounter. The batting order failed miserably, and if we exclude Babar Azam’s innings, Pakistan would have just scored 60 odd runs. Playing against a quality side, Pakistan will look to play to their strengths, that is, bowling and be in the match for all forty overs. The might well get tempted to bring in Ahmed Shehzad in place of Umar Amin, and they also play M Hafeez.

The bowling department has done considerably well for them in past and don’t see any changes happening there. M Aamir and Hasan Ali will look to provide important breakthroughs which eventually might help Pakistan to square the series.

The team management has decided to opt for Tim Southee as their skipper for the shortest format and one will have to say, he utilized his experience and his team was able to put forward a flawless performance. Going into the second T20 International, New Zealand have no reason to tinker with their winning combination. Skipper Tim Southee, along with Seth Rance, and Mitchell Santer picked a total of eight wickets between them, who were well supported by Colin de Grandhomme, Anaru Kitchen and others.

The batting also seemingly looked rock solid, with Colin Munro demolishing the white-ball all around the ground. He struck 49 runs off 43 balls, giving his side seven-wicket win. Others played cameos but no one really got going. Martin Guptill and Ross Taylor will look to target second T20 to prove their stature at this level.

In recent past, Shadab Khan has been able to deliver with both bat and ball, making himself a reliable bowling all-rounder. Seeing Pakistan’s current performance with the bat, his blistering cameos in every two innings plays an important role. Also, Shadab can well turn the ball on docile tracks and put New Zealand under pressure right at the start. Having played few Big Bash League matches in Australia, he will look to utilize his T20 experience in the neighbouring country.

With numerous personnel changes here and there for New Zealand’s team, one thing has remained rock solid and that is, Martin Guptill. Whenever people start questioning his selection, he comes and plays whopping innings and eventually shut his critics. In the first T20 International against Pakistan, almost everyone got going and was a one-sided affair. However, Martin Guptill didn’t have a great day on the field as he departed for just two. Known to smack the ball all around the park, Guptill will be eyeing to make it count in the second encounter.

SQUADS:

PAKISTAN: Fakhar Zaman, Ahmed Shehzad, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk & c), Haris Sohail, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Aamer Yamin, Rumman Raees, M Aamir.

NEW ZEALAND: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Colin de Grandhomme, Anaru Kitchen, Glenn Phillips (wk), Tom Bruce, Mitchell Santner, Seth Rance, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee (c).

 

Agencies