The M. Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru, is set to host the crucial match between Pakistan and New Zealand on Saturday, November 4.
Just a week ago, New Zealand would have been the clear favourites for this match. However, due to injury concerns and a resurgence in form from Pakistan, the outcome is now uncertain.
New Zealand’s key bowlers, Lockie Ferguson and Matt Henry, are under fitness scrutiny. In response, the Kiwis have summoned the experienced Kyle Jamieson, who might be considered as a replacement player for this match.
Kane Williamson, the Kiwi skipper, is also under observation as he recovers from a thumb injury. On the other hand, Pakistan seems more stable with the return of opener Fakhar Zaman.
Zaman, who recently scored a stylish half-century against Bangladesh, is expected to give Pakistan a quick start alongside the dependable Abdullah Shafique.
Pakistan’s strategy regarding the inclusion of an additional specialist bowler against New Zealand remains to be seen. Iftikhar Ahmed has been performing reasonably well with the ball in recent games.
The Pakistani quicks, led by the newly crowned No.1 ODI bowler Shaheen Afridi, will aim to disrupt New Zealand’s top order. This contest could be a significant factor in deciding the match outcome.
Kane Williamson (c), Trent Boult, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Rachin Ravindra, Mitch Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Will Young.
Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Salman Ali Agha, Mohammad Nawaz, Usama Mir, Haris Rauf, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Wasim.
Players to Watch
New Zealand – Glenn Phillips
Glenn Phillips, the New Zealand all-rounder, has demonstrated his potential in this tournament but is yet to deliver a complete performance. With key players sidelined due to injuries, it’s time for Phillips to step up and deliver a match-winning performance.
Pakistan – Fakhar Zaman
Opener Fakhar Zaman proved his worth to Pakistan with a rapid 81 against Bangladesh. His face-off with Trent Boult and Tim Southee could be a game-changer. If Zaman can provide a strong start during the Powerplay, it will set the stage for Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan to control the middle overs.