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A
Agencies
October 31, 2018
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Pakistan’s T20 domination faces New Zealand challenge

Sports

A
Agencies
October 31, 2018

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ABU DHABI: After thrashing Australia 3-0 in the recently concluded Twenty20 International series, Pakistan will look to continue their domination in the format when they play New Zealand in the opening match of the three-match series here on Wednesday (today).

Pakistan seem to have mastered the unpredictable nature of T20 cricket under Sarfraz Ahmed, who has captained them to 26 wins in 30 matches. They are top of the ICC T20I Team Rankings and will be chasing their 11th successive series win.

The hosts were head and shoulders above Australia in their three matches and kept them to scores below 140 each time.Leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who claimed six wickets against Australia, can be a handful for New Zealand.

Imad Wasim is usually a fine support act, and given that newbie paceman Shaheen Shah Afridi has adapted well, New Zealand batsmen are expected to face a tough challenge.Pakistan have stuck with the same squad that whitewashed Australia. While they may juggle between Usman Khan and Shaheen for the role of the second seamer, there are not many changes expected. Opener Fakhar Zaman remains out with knee pain.

New Zealand will be without Trent Boult (paternity leave) and Mitchell Santner (knee injury), but even in their absence, they will look to exploit Pakistan’s perceived batting weakness with leg-spinner Ish Sodhi being joined by the uncapped left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel, along with pacemen Tim Southee, Adam Milne and Corey Anderson.

With the bat, New Zealand will be without the big presence of Martin Guptill who has a calf injury. But Glenn Phillips, the wicket-keeper batsman, has been added to the side and will hope to use his big-hitting abilities to good effect, alongside Colin Munro, who is relishing being back with New Zealand again.

New Zealand have not played an international match since April in England.The forecast is partly cloudy. With the games being held at night, dew is also expected to play a role.

Today’s Fixture

Pakistan vs New Zealand

9:00 pm PST

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