New Zealand vs Pakistan – 1st T20 Tips and Betting Preview

New Zealand vs Pakistan – 1st T20 Tips and Betting Preview

Shortly after ending a tour of Australia, Pakistan make the short trip from there to New Zealand to begin a five-match T20 series over the next couple of weeks, with the opening match taking place in Auckland on Friday.

These matches will act as preparation for the T20 World Cup which is now roughly five months away and given that the tournament is beginning to close in both teams will be looking to get plenty out of these games.

New Zealand

New Zealand head into this series off the back of an up and down three matches against Bangladesh towards the end of 2023. It should be said that it was largely a second string squad which went into battle in that series but even so they didn’t look overly great in it. They have chosen a much stronger squad for this series but you would imagine they will rotate over the five games so there is no guarantee that they are at full strength first up.

New Zealand will want their bowlers to be tested in this match. They are obviously going to be bowling on a smaller ground which is what they will find when they get to the Caribbean for the T20 World Cup later in the year. I think it is fair to say that in this match their batters will come to the party and so if their bowlers can also deliver the goods then it would be a surprise if New Zealand don’t draw first blood in the series.

Pakistan

This will be the first time that Pakistan have played white ball cricket since a disappointing 50 over World Cup campaign and they will be looking to build up some form and momentum over the next few months to really attack the T20 World Cup in June. They are a nation that have all the tools to be successful in this format and were one win away from winning the last T20 World Cup so they will be looking to go one better later in the year.

Pakistan usually always have a very competent bowling attack at their disposal in any white ball cricket let alone 20 over action and that is unlikely to be any different here. Where they can sometimes come unstuck is with the bat in hand and that could be crucial here because you would think this is going to be a high scoring match given the small dimensions of the straight boundaries on what is essential a rugby stadium.

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Team News

New Zealand will offer up a much stronger XI than the one which faced Bangladesh with the likes of Kane Williamson, Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mitchell Santner, Lockie Ferguson and Tim Southee all in the squad for this series.

Pakistan have also named a strong squad, one which will be led by Shaheen Shah Afridi for the first time after he took over the captaincy from Babar Azam. It will be interesting to see how the line up with the bat with Saim Ayub and Fakhar Zaman in the squad along with Babar and Mohammad Rizwan.

Betting

I’m a little surprised that we can get a sixes line which is 13.5 for this match. These two teams met in a T20 international on this ground a few years ago where both sides scored in the 150 region and there were 14 sixes that day. That was one of the lower scoring matches that has been held on this ground and when that still covered I am expecting this line to be cleared with a fair bit in hand, especially with Pakistan offering plenty more clean hitters in their batting unit these days.

New Zealand certainly aren’t short of players who can clear the ropes on much bigger grounds than this one and that is the other thing. Mishits down the ground fly for six here but the amount of wood that is in the bats these days if a bowler drops it should and it is seen early batters can smack it into the square boundaries. The last T20I here involved a Sri Lanka side, who like Pakistan have a reputation for not being the biggest hitters in the world, and the match saw 21 sixes. I expect this line to be covered with a bit to spare.

Tips

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Author: Roy Jackson