CricketPakistan Strengthened With Babar, Rizwan As They Face New Zealand In First T20I At Lahore
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A while ago, Pakistan board did a small experint of sending it relatively young team to play against Afghanistan. They lost the series, and Afghanistan really exposed where the problem lies in Pakistan team.

Now, to fix that problem, Pakistan will be in their full strength to face New Zealand at their home. The four match T20I series starts from tommorow.

The full strength for Pakistan means the return of Babar Azam, Mohmmad Rizwan and Shaheen Shah Afridi. On back of these players, Pakistan played T20 world cup final last year.

New Zealand is trying to bring up young players, they performed very good in home conditions against Sri Lanka a week ago. New Zealand team will be lead by Tom Latham, but there will be no Devon Conway, Fin Allen, Kane Williamson, Glenn Phillips, Trent Boult and Tim Southee.

A tough job at hand but New Zealand is enriched with unorthodox T20 talent, so there will be stiff competition between both teams.

Pakistan Strengthen As Elites Comeback


Pakistan is good team full of talented individuals, but their problem has been consistency. Last time they played a T20 series at home, it was against England who lost the series 4-3.

Pakistan has lost 4 out of their last 7 T20I series, so back to back winning will be serious challenge for them. Also, their ace players have been not as successful as they used be, for what we saw in the world cup, Babar and Rizwan both struggled.

But it was one match where both were on top, it was against New Zealand in the semifinals. Could be a big event for these elite batters to find back their form.

Babar Azam had a great PSL, all of them perfomed well but an international match is a different encourage. After all, the young PSL talents were given a chance against Afghanistan but they couldn’t match up  to the competitiveness.

It is likely Sam Ayyub will get a chance because he scored 49 against Afghanistan in the final T20i. Rest of the order will be same as Shan Masood will be expected to deliver in the middle order.

What’s In The Box For New Zealand?


New Zealand will be backing themselves despite the results of previous encounters between both teams. They have quite solid batting order, if Tom Latham plays well in his own role, then New Zealand will be tough as ever.

Never before, New Zealand has played a T20I series in Pakistan yet they had an ODI series here last year which they won. Tim Seifert was expected to play a substantial role but he will stay home for personal reasons.

Most of the New Zealand players have less than 10 T20I intl caps under their belt, only Ish Sodhi and Jimmy Neesham have played more than 50 matches whereon Pakistan has some expensived players in their squad.

New Zealand has disappointing T20 record in subcontinent conditions in their recent tours. They lost 3-2 in against Bangladesh then 2-1 by India in three match T20I series.

Pitch Report and Stats

The average innings score at Lahore is 167. While batting first, teams have successfully defended 180 scores five times. In the last match played at the venue, England successfully defended 209 runs and before that match, on the same venue, England chased down 170 runs in 14.2 overs.

Pakistan lead 18-11 in T20Is against New Zealand, and in recent 5 head to head matches, Pakistan won four out of them.

Pakistan are a tough T20I side but New Zealand will back themselves to repeat the same performance they did during ODI series.