New Zealand is in the UAE to play three of each kind - T20I, ODI, and Test – against Pakistan over a period of about one and half months.
New Zealand last played any form of international cricket in April this year. And the rustiness showed when their middle order buckled under pressure except for Taylor after a promising start in the first T20I against Pakistan on 31st October 2018.
New Zealand lost the game by just 2 runs that they should have easily won given the circumstances. This also highlights the ability of Pakistan to come back in the game from any situation and why they have been so successful in the T20 Internationals off late.
Pakistan is coming into this series unchanged after a crushing series win over Australia, 3-0, in T20I in the UAE. They are now facing Australia’s neighbors – New Zealand - and if the first T20I is anything to go by, looks like this series will be closely fought than the one that happened against Australia.
Mohammed Hafiz with the bat and Hasan Ali with the ball helped Pakistan clinch a last over thriller in Abu Dhabi in the first T20 international. Hafiz along with Shadab Khan, was instrumental in applying the breaks in the middle over when it looked like New Zealand will walk away with the game.
Pakistan must improve their batting to register a convincing victory in the second T20I. A good thing about Pakistan is that they always find the bowlers turn it on when batsmen fail to get them to a par score. This is highlighted by the fact that they bowled out the opposition 30 times in T20Is, the most in international cricket.
Pakistan, however, would want to avoid getting into the situation again where it is all up to the bowlers to win it for them.
NEW ZEALAND PREVIEW
This series is New Zealand’s first international appearance in 7 months. A long time for a full member to not play any cricket at the international level.
The visitors are missing a couple of key players in their T20 squad. The opener Martin Guptill is missing due to the calf injury and their prime spinner Santner is out due to knee issues. This could be a huge blow given that the conditions in UAE support spinners.
Glenn Phillips and Corey Anderson are back in the side based on their good performances in domestic leagues. And after a wonderful performance in the first T20I against Pakistan much is expected from Colin Munro.
In the last match, Ross Taylor almost pulled it off for New Zealand in the end but fell just short. New Zealand would be hoping that they get over the line this time.
Dubai International Cricket Stadium has already hosted highest number of T20 Internationals and is set to host its 46th T20 international match on 2nd of November.
This is not a typical high scoring ground though. There have only been 10 scores above 160 out of 90 innings at this ground. On such low scoring grounds, especially the ones that assist spinners, the teams batting first would be able to better control the game in the second half.
Thus, win toss bat first should be the strategy here.
New Zealand must be itching to correct the errors in the previous defeat to Pakistan in the first T20I. Pakistan, on the other hand, would want to prove that the scare in the previous match was, in fact, an anomaly in their otherwise glorious T20 record in recent times.
It would take something special from New Zealand to trump Pakistan in the second T20 otherwise the hosts should make it 2-0 without much trouble.