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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

New Zealand v Pakistan: Preview, expected line-ups and prediction

The State of Play

New Zealand are looking over their shoulder after three successive defeats – the most recent of which saw them hammered by South Africa on Wednesday. The Black Caps started well in India but a loss of form and injuries to key players have derailed their progress. Despite that, one win from their remaining two games – Sri Lanka follow Pakistan – could be enough to see them advance to the semi-finals. Win both and they ought to go through.

For Pakistan, this is a must-win encounter. They start the day two points behind fourth-placed New Zealand and with an inferior net run-rate. They secured a crucial win over Bangladesh last time out, a much-needed victory following the heartbreaking loss to South Africa. They must beat the Black Caps and follow that up with a win over England.

Team News

New Zealand have suffered terribly with injuries during the World Cup and have called up seamer Kyle Jamieson as cover while they await the results of scans on Matt Henry. Henry sustained a hamstring injury in the defeat to South Africa with Jimmy Neesham completing his over only for the all-rounder to be struck down himself with a wrist injury in trying to stop a powerful Rassie van der Dussen drive. X-rays came back negative on Neesham but it remains to be seen if he will be fit. There is light at the end of the tunnel, however, with captain Kane Williamson, Lockie Ferguson and Mark Chapman set to be available.

Pakistan will likely go with the same XI that beat Bangladesh after making changes for that game, meaning no way back for under-performing all-rounder Muhammad Nawaz. Key seamer Shaheen Afridi – the number one ODI bowler in the world rankings – is fit.

Expected Line-ups

New Zealand: Conway, Young, Williamson (c), Ravindra, Mitchell, Latham (wk), Phillips, Santner, Southee, Boult, Ferguson

Pakistan: Shafique, Fakhar, Babar (c), Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar, Shakeel, Salman, Afridi, Mir, Wasim, Rauf

What they said

New Zealand coach Gary Stead on the decision to call up Kyle Jamieson.
“The severity of Matt’s injury, combined with a short turnaround to Pakistan, meant we couldn’t risk being a bowler down for Saturday.
“Matt’s been a world class performer for us in ODI cricket for the past two World Cup cycles so we’ve got our fingers crossed for the scan results.”

Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman
“In the World Cup, each win gives you confidence and we were waiting for that [the win over Bangladesh].
“We are in the ifs-and-buts zone right now but we will try to win both the remaining matches with good run rates.
“Our target is the semi-final and we will try for that.”

Prediction

Pakistan’s need to win may trip over into desperation – particularly as they also need to boost their net run-rate – and New Zealand’s experienced line-up may have to much nous, although it could be close.

Check out our other sports stories here:
https://www.businesslancashire.co.uk/category/sport/

Jon Fisher
Jon Fisher
Jon has over 20 years' experience in sports journalism having worked at the Press Association, Goal and Stats Perform, covering three World Cups, an Olympics and numerous other major sporting events.
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