Cricket

2nd Test: New Zealand vs Pakistan – Match Preview

The 1st Test match surely became interesting. The Kiwis were stand out performers but Pakistan were stubborn, keeping New Zealand in the game and dragged them to final day. As some feared, the final session collapse by Pakistan which they went from 240-3 to  271 all out, loosing 31 for 7 in the final session. As a result, They could not prevent a draw and head to 2nd Test 1-0 down.

How to approach Day 5 is something Pakistan have been struggling at lately. It seems that they could not cope by at least drawing out the final day. Pakistan, heading to 2nd Test, needs to find out answers quickly. Especially their batsmen, who once again disappointed them. In particular their openers.

If New Zealand, who are unbeaten in their last 16 home matches, wins the final game, they will become the new number 1 rank team. (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

What about New Zealand? They were just given some hiccups on the final day but they held on their nerves an won the match with just about four overs to go. Heading to 2nd Test 1-0 up, they will be looking to seal the series. The form their players in have been brilliant. They have become a difficult team to be challenged at their home.

Now without Neil Wagner, who suffered a fracture on his foot, New Zealand will likely to dragged injure free Matt henry for the 2nd Test. The hosts will be looking to once again grab the opportunity and win yet another home series win. And let’s not forget if they win the 2nd Test, they will become the no.1 Test side for the very first time.

Match Details:

Date: January 03, 2021

Timing: 03:00 AM PKT

Venue: Hagley Oval, Christchurch

Weather: The weather is expected to be windy and cloudy for the duration of the Test with scattered showers forecasted on the fifth day.

Conditions / Pitch Report: The pitch at the Hagley Oval tends to help bowlers on the first couple of days before the moisture dries off and batting becomes easier on the last day.

Head to Head:

Matches: 59 | New Zealand: 13 | Pakistan: 25 | Drawn: 21

Form Guide:

New Zealand: W W W W W (Most recent first)

Pakistan: L D D L W 

Team News:

1. New Zealand

Neil Wagner, who suffered a toe fracture during the first Test, has been ruled out for five to six weeks. Matt Henry has been confirmed to replace the left arm fast bowler. Other than this, New Zealand will unlikely to make further changes.

New Zealand’s Probable XI:

1. Tom Latham, 2. Tom Blundell, 3. Kane Williamson (C), 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Henry Nicholls, 6. BJ Watling (WK)7. Mitchell Santner, 8. Kyle Jamieson, 9. Tim Southee, 10. Matt Henry, 11. Trent Boult

2. Pakistan

Pakistan will be without Babar Azam again as the management on Saturday confirmed that he felt uncomfortable while practicing in nets. This means the squad will likely to be same. However, Sohail Khan’s inclusion is still a possiblility. If that happens, it will be only revealed on match day who he replaces.

Pakistan’s Probable XI:

1. Abid Ali, 2. Shan Masood, 3. Azhar Ali 4. Fawad Alam, 5. Haris Sohail, 6. Mohammad Rizwan (C, WK), 7. Faheem Ashraf, 8. Yasir Shah, 9. Shaheen Afridi, 10. Mohammad Abbas, 11. Naseem Shah

Fawad Alam and Mohammad Rizwan were star performers in the first Test (Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images)

Players to watch:

1. Kane Williamson, Batsman – New Zealand

The kiwis captain recently became the number 1 Test rank batsman. He has been in phenomenal form lately. In his last 9 home innings, he scored 657 runs at an average of 82.125 with three centuries including one double ton. What surprising here is that he averages only 35.70 against Pakistan at home and that his 129 in the first innings was his first home century against Pakistan. Interestingly, his home average against Pakistan is his second lowest, with the lowest home average coming against Australia with 35.50. But given his recent performance, he may start to push those average.

2. Shaheen Afridi, Bowler – Pakistan 

The tall fast bowler has been bowling consistently on New Zealand shores. He hasn’t been at his best in T20Is and in Test match, he did okay. He was threatening and picked four in the first innings. However, he went 4 an over and could not provide the start Pakistan needed in the second innings. It seems the heavy workload has taken a little toil on him and is expected to play the second Test as well. He would go hard at the opposition, but needs to be careful not to break down and that is something the management needs to look at.

3. Kyle Jamieson, Bowling All-rounder – New Zealand

Kyle Jamieson has proved it once again why he can be that X factor New Zealand will need. He broke the all important partnership between Mohammad Rizwan and Fawad Alam by trapping the Pakistani skipper in front. That breakthrough saw a massive collapse that Pakistan could not hold on to draw the match. Eyes will be on him once again.

4. Fawad Alam, Batsman – Pakistan

Fawad scored his second Test match century in what turned out to be a thrilling match. It was his first ton since 2009. His innings proved to be so crucial for his side that they nearly drawn the match. He even scored a century in practice match which helped Pakistan win by 89 runs. Eyes will be on the southpaw as he will be looking to play yet another big innings. This time hoping to win it for his side.

Stats and Trivia:

  • New Zealand have not lost their last 16 home matches.
  • Since 2014, Pakistan and New Zealand have played 9 matches against each other. Pakistan have won only 2 in this period and lost 6.
  • If New Zealand wins this match, they will climb on top of the Test rankings for the first time in their history.
  • New Zealand have won five, lost one and drawn one of the seven Tests they have played at the Hagley Oval.

Also Read: Misbah ul-Haq reveals ‘biggest disappointment’ of 2020

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