On Friday (18th December), the hosts New Zealand will face the visitors Pakistan in the opening game of the three-match T20I series at Eden Park (Auckland).
It will be their first T20I meeting since November 2018, where the Asian side won by 47 runs against the Blackcaps at Dubai (DSC) on 4th November 2018. Pakistan won all their last five T20Is against the Kiwis.
New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st T20I: Match Preview
While the experienced cricketer Ross Taylor will miss the entire T20I series, Kane Williamson will be available to lead the New Zealand T20I side from the second game. Also, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Daryl Mitchell all will be available from the second game of this series. So, the later New Zealand team for the first T20I is much inexperienced, but they still have enough talent and the home venues are one of the biggest plus point for this New Zealand team.
Mitchell Santner will wear the T20I leadership hat for the second time, after his T20I captaincy debut was washed out in rain during the last game of the three-match T20I series against West Indies.
One of their biggest talking points is Doug Bracewell’s return to the national squad only for the first T20I, who played his last international in January 2019.
Mitchell Santner (C), Todd Astle, Doug Bracewell, Mark Chapman, Devon Conway, Jacob Duffy, Martin Guptill, Scott Kuggeleijn, Jimmy Neesham, Glenn Phillips, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner
Recent ODI form (Oldest to latest): Tied (Super Over defeat), Lost, Won, Won, No Result
Though the opener Fakhar Zaman and captain Babar Azam, who is their most consistent batsmen in every format, are unavailable for this T20I series, the Pakistan team is still a good T20I side. However, they have to prove themselves in the challenging New Zealand condition.
Pakistan will play this T20I series under the new captain Shadab Khan. They have some good talented players for this format, but the inexperience can be a big factor many of their players.
Shadab Khan (C), Abdullah Shafique, Faheem Ashraf, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Hussain Talat, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Rizwan, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Wahab Riaz
Recent ODI form (Oldest to latest): Lost, Won, Won, Won, Won
New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st T20I: Match Prediction
We have already said that Pakistan won all their last five T20Is against New Zealand. Both teams are inexperienced, at least for the first T20I of this series. But it is always very tough to beat New Zealand at their home venues as they play strongest part of their game at the home conditions, while the visitors always face some difficult challenges.
So, the hosts are favourite for the opening game of this series.