Saturday, February 23, 2019 11:47:54 AM
After beating Sri Lanka in Test, ODI and T20I series, an upbeat New Zealand will eye another series victory when they meet Pakistan in the first Twenty20 international at the Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.
Both Pakistan and New Zealand have played in the shortest format of the game in past couple of months.
While New Zealand are high on their victorious performance, Pakistan will be eyeing to put their campaign back on the winning track, having tasted defeat in the recently-concluded T20 series against England in the United Arab Emirates.
With the ICC World T20 scheduled in India in March, both teams are expected to try different combinations for batting and bowling.
New Zealand, led by Kane Williamson, have a solid batting line-up with Martin Guptill, Tom Lathan, Colin Munro, Grant Elliot, Corey Anderson and Ross Taylor performing consistently of late. Mitchell McClenaghan, Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, and Matt Henry form a decent bowling department for Black Caps.
"I would say you'd like 100-metre boundaries, but I guess that presents its own challenges. If you restrict you can create chances to take wickets. In this format you know anything is possible," New Zealand leg-spinner Todd Astle told Cricinfo.
On the other hand, Pakistan will be captained by seasoned allrounder cricketer Shahid Afridi. Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, and Umar Akmal will strengthen visitors' batting line-up while pacer Wahab Riaz will be accompanied by experienced Umar Gul to make bowling department look effective.
The series will also mark Mohammad Amir's return to international cricket, following his five-year ban.
Amir, who served ban for indulging in spot-fixing during the 2010 tour of England, was expected to make the squad after being brought back into the national camp despite some resentment by fellow players.