The Test series turned out to be a very satisfying one, especially for New Zealand. After being outplayed in the first Test, New Zealand came out hard in an emotional third Test at Sharjah. Brendon McCullum and Kane Williamson played the Pakistan spinners Zulfiqar Babar and Yasir Shah with ease that it didn’t even look like that these spinners were the only one’s who ripped apart Australia’s Test batting last month.
New Zealand’s bowling also looked lethal and with this performance, sub-continent teams would have stay on their toes when they face them in the future.
On the other hand, Pakistan played extremely well in the first Test and decently in the second one. But in the third, they had no answer to McCullum and Williamson’s onslaught. Their bowling looked very ordinary and their batting was also not up to the mark. This was their first below-par performance in Tests in the past two months. But with all said and done, the focus of both the teams would be now on the first of the two T20s that gets underway on December 4th.
Pakistan bowling has been strengthened by the return of Umar Gul and Wahab Riaz. Both have come back from injuries and would look to make amends straight-away before the World Cup 2015. Ahmed Shehzad also returns to the side after missing the last two Tests because of the bouncer of Corey Anderson which hit his head. Sarfraz Ahmed also makes his way back to the T20 side and would look to continue his good form he showed in Tests.
Pakistan would definitely miss the services of Sohaib Maqsood (ruled out due to wrist injury), who has been one of their of the stand-out performers in the shorter formats.
On the other hand, New Zealand have Kane Williamson as their captain for the T20s and the ODIs. Their regular captain Brendon McCullum has been rested to give him time to freshen up for the Sri Lankan series.
Daniel Vettori would most probably play his 34th T20 after a gap of more than 2 years. Fast-bowler Adam Milne also returns from injury and would look to do a ‘Steven Finn’ of England’s tour of UAE 2011. Ross Taylor would provide stability at number four and Corey Anderson and Luke Ronchi would look to add finishing touches, if New Zealand are to post a high total.
Probable Playing XI for Pakistan:
Ahmed Shehzad, Awais Zia, Mohammad Hafeez, Umar Akmal, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shahid Afridi, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz, Raza Hasan, Mohammad Irfan
Probable Playing XI for New Zealand:
Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson, Tom Latham, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Jimmy Neesham, Luke Ronchi, Nathan McCullum, Daniel Vettori, Kyle Mills, Mitchell McClenaghan
Time (IST): 9:30pm
Image Courtesy: Nourman Ahmed