The visiting team Pakistan is ready to face the strong hosts New Zealand in the three-match T20I series. They will play the opening match of this series at Eden Park (Auckland) on Friday (18th December).
Pakistan team will play this T20I series without their captain and latest no.2-ranked T20I batsman Babar Azam. However, they are still a good team in this shortest format.
New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st T20I: Pakistan’s Predicted XI
Mohammad Rizwan (wk)
In the absence of Fakhar Zaman and captain Babar Azam, the wicket-keeper batsman Mohammad Rizwan is likely to take the opening batting role. He hasn’t opened for Pakistan yet, but he opens for his domestic team. In domestic T20 tournament in last October, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa skipper Rizwan once scored 67 runs during the match against Sindh.
In last September, young Abdullah Shafique started his T20 career with a century. His present T20 batting average is 49.87 after 11 innings. On 10th November 2020, he made international debut during the Rawalpindi T20I against Zimbabwe, where he impressed with his batting after scoring match-winning 41 off 33 balls.
The 20-year-old Haider Ali has already scored two fifties in his first four T20Is as his T20I batting average is 51.33. In the home T20I series against Zimbabwe in last November, he finished as the third most run-scorer as he scored 100 runs in three matches with an average of 50.00.
During the recent home T20I series against Zimbabwe, Khushdil Shah successfully helped his team to chase down the targets in all the three matches by remaining unbeaten in those games.
Mohammad Hafeez is in good form in T20 cricket with the bat. Before scoring 36 runs against Zimbabwe in one of the Rawalpindi T20I, the right-handed batsman scored 69 and 86 not out against the hosts England in T20I series.
The middle-order batsman Iftikhar Ahmed has the T20I batting average of 58.00. The right-handed batsman has scored one fifty (62*) in T20I career. He is also a handy off-spinner.
Shadab Khan (C)
In the absence of Babar Azam, Shadab Khan will handle the leadership for the Pakistan T20I side in this series. While it will be his first international captaincy experience, he will be the ninth Pakistan T20I captain. As an all-rounder, he is currently in very goo form who scored 237 runs and also took 15 wickets in 10 games during National T20 Cup 2020/21, which finished in last October.
All-rounder Imad Wasim is also in very good form. In T20 cricket, he is very effective as a left-arm spinner. Meanwhile, as a left-handed middle-order batsman, he likes to hit hard.
Shaheen Shah Afridi
The left-arm fast bowler Shaheen Shah Afridi has taken 18 wickets in his 15 T20Is. The young fast bowler has impressed in his initial outings in international career.
The experienced left-arm pacer Wahab Riaz was the third-most wicket-taker (16 wickets) in the National T20 Cup 2020/21. This series is going to be crucial in his T20I career.
After making his T20I debut in last January, the right-arm fast bowler Haris Rauf has already scalped 11 wickets in 8 T20Is. He is a reliable bowler in this shortest format.