The first T20I was a very close encounter in which things could have gone either way. If Tim Southee had not gone for a six and a four in his last over, if Ross Taylor had hit a six off the last ball from Shaheen Afridi instead of a four, the result could have been different.
To Pakistan's credit they have defended a score between 145 and 155 for the 4th time successfully within a matter of less than 10 days. Imad Wasim, Hasan Ali and Shadab Khan proved too good for the New Zealand batting lineup and although Colin Munro and Ross Taylor threatened to reach the target, the sluggish Abu Dhabi pitch did not help.
The New Zealand spinners in Ish Sodhi and Ajaz Patel, both of Indian descent, also posted some questions for the Pakistan batsmen while Adam Milne chipped in with two wickets. After Pakistan lost its openers early, Asif Ali Mohammad Hafeez and Sarfaraz Ahmed got them to a respectable total.
This cat and mouse game is expected to continue as New Zealand are not one to throw in the towel. The fielding too is expected to be top-class in the coming games. It would be interesting to see how the match pans out if and when New Zealand bat first.
Pakistan- Babar Azam, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi
New Zealand- Glenn Phillips, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson, Colin de Grandhomme, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Tim Seifert, Adam Milne, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Ajaz Patel
Cricket Betting Tips and Match Predictions*
Who will win? – Pakistan
Head to Head – T20Is 19, New Zealand 8, Pakistan 11
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) – Babar Azam (Pakistan), Kane Williamson (New Zealand)
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) – Shadab Khan (Pakistan), Ish Sodhi (New Zealand)
Most Sixes – Asif Ali (Pakistan), Colin Munro (New Zealand)
Team Scores Batting First – Pakistan 160+, New Zealand 150+
*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features soon, so stay tuned.
© Cricket World 2018