New Zealand vs Pakistan 3rd T20I Preview: Clean sweep likely as Men in Green struggle to cope with bouncy conditions
With little time for preparation and the conditions conducive for pace bowling, Pakistan have found it hard to showcase their A game in the first two matches of the T20I series.
LIVE - New Zealand vs Pakistan 2020-21 - 3rd T20I
Hard length proving to be too hard for Pakistan
Be it Jacob Duffy on his T20I debut or Kyle Jamieson, Scott Kuggeleijn and Tim Southee, the New Zealand bowlers are doing one thing repeatedly, which is landing the ball on a hard length and allowing the pitch to do the rest.
The ball is rising sharply off short of a length due to the bounce in the pitches and the expertise that New Zealand bowlers have gained due to their years of experience on such surfaces.
Pakistan batsmen, who were following the subcontinent template and swinging across the line, are finding it hard to find the middle of the bat. More often than not, the ball is taking the leading edge and is getting skied.
While the Pakistan batsmen can be smarter with their plans, a lot of credit goes to the New Zealand bowlers for exploiting the conditions. There is also some swing and seam on offer as found by Tim Southee in the second T20I to dismiss both Haider Ali and Abdullah Shafique in the second over.
Pakistan thin on batting personnel
In the absence of Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq, Pakistan are struggling to put together a good outing with the bat. They tinkered with their batting order slightly in the 2nd T20I, swapping the positions of Haider Ali and Abdullah Shafiqe.
Abdullah Shafique, who was dismissed for a duck in the first match, was slotted at one drop in the 2nd T20I while Haider Ali was promoted to open the batting alongside wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan. However, the change had little effect as Haider Ali was dismissed for 8 after looking good. Shafique tried to swat a short pitched delivery from Tim Southee across the line and top edged it.
Hafeez shows his class
Mohammad Hafeez fired with an unbeaten 99 off 57 deliveries as he struck a six off the last delivery of the innings but missed his century by just one run. His runs came at a strike rate of 173.68, including 10 fours and 5 sixes.
However, he did not get any support from his fellow batsmen. While it was Shadab Khan who played a good hand with some assistance from Faheem Ashraf in the first T20I, Mohammad Hafeez was the lone warrior in the 2nd match.
If only Pakistan can string together a couple of partnerships, they can reach a score of around 200 which is necessary in the conditions of New Zealand and with short boundaries to challenge the strong Kiwi batting line-up.
Tim Seifert's brilliance
In the absence of Martin Guptill's regular partner Colin Munro, who is plying his trade at the Big Bash League, wicket-keeper batsman Tim Seifert has shone bright in both the first two matches of the series.
He made a 43-ball 57 in the first match to set up the chase beautifully for New Zealand. In the 2nd T20I, Seifert was brilliant once again as he struck an unbeaten 84 off 63 deliveries while opening the batting for New Zealand.
The wicket-keeper batsman struck 8 fours and 3 sixes and had a 100+ unbeaten stand with Kane Williamson to see Newzealand home without any further hiccups.
He has been one of the major differences between the two batting units. While Pakistan have struggled to get a good start and have seen half of their team depart early in both the matches, Tim Seifert has not only spent time on the wicket but has also provided New Zealand with quick runs.
While New Zealand are expected to go in with the same playing XI, Pakistan are likely to replace Wahab Riaz with Mohammad Hasnain.
Here's the probable playing XI of both teams:
New Zealand - Martin Guptill, Tim Seifert (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Kyle Jamieson, Scott Kuggeleijn, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult
Pakistan - Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shadab Khan (c), Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf
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