Sunday, May 28, 2023

PCB: Much-anticipated Pakistan-New Zealand T20Is commence tomorrow

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  • The two captains will hold press conference in the evening at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore
  • The official series hashtags are #PAKvNZ and #CricketMubarak

After witnessing a nail-biting finish in the final of the HBL Pakistan Super League 8 just a month ago, the fans in Lahore are set to be treated with what promise to be exciting contests when Pakistan take on New Zealand in the first three of the five-match T20 International series at the Gaddafi Stadium.

Babar Azam-led Pakistan will play their first T20I here since October 2022, when they played England in the lead-up to the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup. Pakistan have won 10 of the 18 matches here since 2015 and the venue has provided viewers action their money’s worth with 8.13 runs being scored per over.

For the Kiwis, it is an unchartered territory as they have never played a T20I in Pakistan. They will hope to bank on the experience of their recent tour of Karachi when they played two Tests and three One-Day Internationals across December and January and the data available to them about the venue, but playing in Gaddafi Stadium against a full-fledged Pakistan side will be a challenging ask. 

Pakistan already have an upper-hand as they have defeated New Zealand four times in the last five matches, the most recent one being a convincing seven-wicket win in the T20 World Cup semi-final in Sydney. That only defeat was during the tri-series in Christchurch, which Pakistan won, just before the World Cup.

Babar Azam: “It is a great feeling to be back in Lahore in Pakistan colours. This promises to be an exciting series as we bring the exciting young talent and the experience of senior players together in this solid squad. 

“The T20 World Cup is over a year away and we will look to utilise the next five games to see where we stand. They will also help us gear up for the crucial five-match ODI series that follows as more or less we have the same players in this team and that series will provide us a good opportunity to prepare for the Asia Cup and World Cup later in the year.”

Tom Latham: “It is an exciting tour for our side and we know we’re coming up against a quality Pakistan team who will be a huge challenge. We’re obviously missing a few of our senior players, but that’s going to offer opportunities to others and I know the team are really looking forward to testing themselves.

“Conditions are completely different to what we’re used to back home and it’s going to be important that we adapt as quickly as possible. We’ll lean on the experiences we had on the tour here a couple of months ago where we managed to play some good cricket in both the Test and ODI series.

“The HBL PSL has also just been here so we will try and get as much information as we can, but it will ultimately be about adapting as quickly as possible.”

Gaddafi Stadium will stage T20I matches on 14, 15 and 17 April before the action shifts to Rawalpindi where the last two games of the series will be played on 20 and 24 April.

Pakistan squad: Babar Azam (captain), Shadab Khan (vice-captain), Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood and Zaman Khan

New Zealand squad: Tom Latham (captain, wk), Chad Bowes, Mark Chapman, Dane Cleaver, Matt Henry, Ben Lister, Adam Milne, Cole McConchie, Daryl Mitchel

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