The T20 series between New Zealand and Pakistan continues on Wednesday when the third match of the five takes place in Dunedin where the home side have the first of three chances to land the spoils on home soil.
Pakistan need to win this match in order to keep the series alive and the longer it remains competitive the more both teams will get out of it in terms of preparation for the World Cup in June so this feels more important than normal.
We haven’t always seen New Zealand play their best cricket in this format of the game but they have done in this series. They have batted first in both games and even though they were both on small grounds they were able to put up scores that they were able to defend. That is very much a good thing when it comes to the World Cup later in the year as that will be played on small grounds so knowing they can defend scores on them will certainly be a confidence boost.
New Zealand will probably want to chase a score at some point in this series just for peace of mind moving forward but they look to be playing good cricket in all departments which suggests they are going to be a threat at the World Cup. The positive from that aspect is that they still have one or two first choice bowling options to come into their side so the Kiwis look in a good spot as they continue to prepare for the tournament.
I guess this was always going to be a tricky test for Pakistan in this series given that the conditions are so much different to the ones that they play on back home but they will probably be disappointed with the margins that they have been beaten by. They will be out to be much more competitive here and hopefully from their point of view come out with a victory which keeps the series alive. They need their big batters to come to the fore here.
The good thing for Pakistan is they don’t need to look too deep into where they have been going wrong in this series. Their bowling just hasn’t got going yet and they really need that unit to come to the party here if they are to keep the series alive. In the main, they have batted well enough but the scoreboard pressure has caught them out. One question mark would be their batting order which looks a little out of kilter.
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New Zealand will be forced into a change with the news that Kane Williamson has been ruled out for the remainder of the series. Tim Seifert is the man expected to replace him. They may look to get the series won before making big changes.
Pakistan will surely look for something different in their bowling attack. Zaman Khan would be one option that could come in for them and Mohammad Wasim would be another option. Mohammad Nawaz is another who could come in.
This has been a high scoring series so far and I don’t expect to see anything different where that is concerned here. The one question would be whether New Zealand will be as high scoring without someone like Kane Williamson marshalling the innings. You would imagine that they will but it could open the door a little. With that in mind I’ll play a Pakistan bet until we see the New Zealand side perform without their captain.
The bet I like is for Pakistan to hit more than 20.5 boundaries. They have covered this line with ease in the first two games and while the University Oval is the biggest ground that the series has been played on so far it certainly isn’t out of the ordinary in terms of size. The one thing we have seen is Pakistan have loaded their order with clean hitters and that isn’t going to change here. In a high scoring game one boundary per over on average with one on top doesn’t feel all that much to me. I’ll play the over here.
Back Pakistan – Over 20.5 boundaries for a 3/10 stake at 1.73 with William Hill
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