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Pak vs NZ: Green Shirts aim to bounce back against Kiwis today

Pak vs NZ: Green Shirts aim to bounce back against Kiwis today

طوبیٰ Tooba 3 months ago 0 373

In this still Pakistan team members can be seen with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management while training at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, on April 24, 2024. —X/TheRealPCB
In this still Pakistan team members can be seen with the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) management while training at the Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore, on April 24, 2024. —X/TheRealPCB  
  • Usman Khan expected to replace Rizwan as wicket-keeper.
  • New Zealand hope to grab another victory.
  • Score in the first innings may be around 175-180.

LAHORE: Pakistan will try to gain an upper hand in the five-match series against New Zealand with eyes on winning the fourth T20I on Thursday (today) at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore. 

The game will kick off at 7:30pm.

The series is levelled 1-1 as the first match was abandoned due to rain. Pakistan defeated Kiwis by seven wickets in the second match and New Zealand levelled the series in the third match with a seven-wicket win over the Green Shirts.

The key batters to watch in Pakistan would be skipper Babar Azam, opener Saim Ayub and all-rounder Shadab Khan, whereas The Black Caps’ batting will mostly rely on Mark Chapman, Tim Robinson and Tim Seifert.

Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan would have made a significant contribution in Pakistan’s batting lineup but he has been ruled out of the rest of the matches because of a hamstring injury that he suffered in the previous match. Usman Khan is expected to replace him as the wicket-keeper.

The hosts’ performance on Sunday with batting and bowling was disappointing and they will try to make up for it. New Zealand hope to grab another victory in today’s contest.

Viewing history of the Gaddafi Stadium and prediction of cloudy evening with temperatures expected to climb to 33 °C during the match, score in the first innings may be around 175-180.

Pakistan: Babar Azam (captain), Abrar Ahmed, Haseebullah, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Abbas Afridi, Mohmmad Amir, Muhammad Irfan Khan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usama Mir, Usman Khan, Zaman Khan

New Zealand: Michael Bracewell (c), Tom Blundell (wk), Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Zak Foulkes, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (wk), Ish Sodhi.

Babar Azam says Pakistan experimenting in NZ series

Addressing a press conference at the Gaddafi Stadium before practice session on Wednesday, Pakistan captain Babar Azam said that the fundamental aim of their New Zealand series was to conduct experiments to form a formidable playing squad for the T20I World Cup scheduled to be held in West Indies and the United States in June.

The skipper said they would try to give ample chances to players on the top four positions who are going to the World Cup.

He said if they changed a player’s slot, they would do it after discussing with him. He said they were taking measures after thorough understanding and communication.

“Every player is being taken into confidence and our motive is to raise the country’s performance graph,” he said.

Babar said that criticism would not change their decisions. “We prefer those things which can benefit the team and the country. It’s my motive and I believe in it,” he said.

Asked whether the physical training camp at Kakul improved the players’ fitness, he said a camp always helped you in fitness and mental health. It never happened to him or any other player that they did not focus on fitness, he said. 

“We have passed through tough and consistent cricket. Whenever you are on a tour you make such a schedule that you will work on fitness and skills. So, it’s part of the game,” Babar said.

He said injuries were part of the game but they tried to look after every player. 

“We are trying to give opportunities to the available 15 to 16 players so that they could prove themselves in different conditions and get ready for the task,” the skipper said. “We are giving them confidence and it will help onwards,” he said. When asked about Rizwan’s fitness problem, Babar said absence of major players was always felt.

“The entire team missed Rizwan. The way he has served the team and the nation is before you. He is a fighter and always tries to give his best,” he said. “His injury is not of any major concern but as a precautionary measure we want to save him and he will undergo rehab in NCA and he will be properly look after. I hope he will be ready before the Ireland series and InshaAllah he will be available soon,” he said.

To a query if he would also play at one down in this series as he had done well at this position in the past, Babar said it depended on situation.

“If we are to go with a different mindset and with a different plan and yes, it is also possible to try different players on that spot.

“We did not lose the previous game due to one or two players; we lost that as a team. Besides batting and bowling we also made mistakes in fielding and had we done well in that area it could have been a different game. It is not right to blame any player as we lose as a team and we win as a team,” Babar said.

He said Shaheen Afridi and Naseem Shah were the best bowlers and they knew how to make a comeback. “There should be a contribution of every player and if someone does not perform others should make it up,” he said.

The captain rejected the impression that there was no bonding in the team. He said they always played like a unit. “Our bonding is good. Yes, when we lose, we discuss the merits and demerits and it further strengthens our bonding as a team,” he said.

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