NZ vs PAK: 5 Things We Can Expect From The Encounter

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NZ vs PAK: 5 Things We Can Expect From The Encounter

NZ vs PAK: 5 Things We Can Expect From The Encounter 

Pakistan and New Zealand will clash in a mouth-watering encounter in the first semi-final of the T20 World Cup 2022 in Sydney on Wednesday.

The two teams have had contrasting group-stage journeys. New Zealand remained to dominate for the major part of the Super 12 with big wins over Australia, Sri Lanka, and Ireland while suffering a loss in a tight game against England.

Pakistan were on their way back home after losing to India and shockingly to Zimbabwe. But then stormed back with victories over the Netherlands, South Africa, and Bangalore, but it was South Africa’s loss to the Netherlands that opened up the doors for Pakistan to enter the semis.

In this article, here are 5 things that can be expected from the Pakistan-New Zealand semi-final:

A high-scoring encounter

The SCG has favored the batters most of all surfaces used in the T20 World Cup 2022. 4 of the top 10 totals in the tournament have been scored here. Rilee Rossouw and Glenn Phillips have struck centuries at the SCG batting first. So expect the team batting first to pile up good amount of runs even though both have strong bowling attacks.

Team to win the toss likely to bat first

Keeping aside the past history of the ground, and putting the lens only on this tournament - 6 out of 7 matches in the T20 World Cup 2022 so far in Sydney have been won by the team batting first, and the only victory while chasing - England defeated Sri Lanka - was achieved with only two balls left in the chase.

So expect the captain to win the toss to bat first. Apart from the aforementioned stat, both Pakistan and New Zealand have bowling as their stronger suit, so putting runs on the board first up and defending is likely to be their way, especially in a big knockout game.

Spinners have a big say in the final outcome

Another different pattern in Sydney compared to other venues in Australia used in this tournament, is that the SCG has also had plenty of assistance for the spinners.

The SCG surface is the most Asian (read: spin-friendly) pitch in all of Australia, and its ground dimension - long straight boundaries and short square boundaries - would embolden the likes of Shadab, Santner and Sodhi to pitch the ball up, asking the batters to hit them down the ground. Mohammad Nawaz will also come into play with NZ having 4 right-handers in the top 5.

Big hits in the powerplay

Watch: 42 Off 16! Finn Allen Produces Fireworks At SCG, Takes Australian  Bowlers For a Ride | Cricket News

Both teams have one batter in their top three that has been given the license to smash every single ball: opener Finn Allen for New Zealand and the likely number 3 Mohammad Haris for Pakistan. It was at this venue where Allen lit up the Super 12 opener vs Australia clattering 42 off 16; he also hit 32 off 18 vs Ireland.

Haris, who was not even in the squad and came in as Fakhar Zaman’s replacement, thumped 28 off 11 vs South Africa followed by 31 off 18 vs Bangladesh.

Powerplay runs are going to be crucial in Sydney, because the pitch would slow down later on, so these two might put up a fireworks show in the semi-final.

New Zealand to defeat Pakistan and proceed to the final

While this is a big call - especially given the strength (bowling) and weaker suit (batting) of both the teams is similar - Kane Williamson’s side just seems to be more clinical, more assured, and in better form than Pakistan. Pakistan’s batting is troublesome: Babar and Rizwan neither have big runs nor they have been scoring quickly, the latter is also the issue with Shan Masood, while Haris and Shadab are proper boom-or-bust batters. Iftikar Ahmed isn’t really known for his consistency.