Preview: Kane Williamson v Misbah-ul-Haq – Two Captains On A Same Mission!
It was in the year 1985 when last time New Zealand won a Test series against Pakistan on their home ground; on the other hand, it has been more than 7 years when Pakistan played a Test match at their home, surprisingly they have already touched the number 1 rank; this indicates the difference between the two sides.
New Zealand has lost their last two Test series; on the other hand, results have been contrary for Pakistan. A drawn series against England is a huge achievement for any subcontinental team. The confidence level of Pakistan players is a sky high despite an upset in the last Test against West Indies; they are looking to dominate New Zealand in their own backyard riding on the perfect blend of experience and young blood in the team. A leader like Misbah-ul-Haq adds weight to their team. On the other hand, the first job of New Zealand players will be to get their shaky and tottering confidence and form back on the track. They are flattened and their confidence has been devastated as per Coach Mike Hesson.
Despite being the hosts to Pakistan, New Zealand are not favourites to win the series. They have plenty of work to do, to fix the opening woes, to fill some air in deflated batting line-up, to raise the confidence of Captain Kane Williamson who was the lone ranger in the recently concluded series against India.
Presently, the New Zealand team at the bottom lying in the eighth position in the ICC rankings having a lame and tame form, lame and tame confidence, lame and tame players.
The first thing they will have to do is to water the barren form to give some sense of rejuvenation to the players and the team.
They have shed some of the underperforming elements from the team, eliminating the likes of Martin Guptill and Ish Sodhi who struggled throughout their tour to India. This will also help this team as this will mean a step into the new world, a fresh chance in order to get back in form. The uphill task which they will face against Pakistan will be the main challenge for them.
Though they have used that old strategy of gaining benefits from the home deck but still can’t take Pakistan lightly by no means. It will be a foolish thing to do so.
On the other hand, Pakistan too will have a tough chance here as the pitch which has been lead is enough to surprise any of the team visiting the nation. Never in the history of the game, have any team seen this kind of pitch having just grass on it, the amount of grass on the pitch can be judged by the fact that one will need a sickle to uproot it and then he will be able to see what’s s embedded underneath it.
Both the captains viz Kane Williamson and Misbah-ul-Haq will have different challenges and will on just one mission to eclipse each other. The only thing which will play the role in the game will be the role of bowlers as the pitch is expected to play same on all five days with very little assistance for spinners. This factor can really go against Pakistan whose main strength relies on slow bowling.
Still, Pakistan team possess an upper hand in the series with most of the things looking in their favour.
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