New Zealand v Pakistan
Wednesday March 23, 1:00am
The Punjab Cricket Association Stadium in Mohali will host the important clash between New Zealand and Pakistan on Tuesday night.
The Black Caps will be hoping to keep their unblemished record in the tournament alive after overcoming the highly fancied Indian and Australian sides in their opening two games. Both wins were built on highly-disciplined efforts with the ball after their batting line-up compiled below par totals.
After being left out against India, paceman Mitchell McClenaghan made the most of his recall against the Aussies, claiming 3 for 17 in a match-winning performance. The Kiwis will be hoping that their middle-order can start to fire after underwhelming contributions in their earlier fixtures but are at least secure in the knowledge that a win here will ensure they qualify for the semi-finals.
Pakistan have split their first two games of the tournament with a convincing win over Bangladesh followed by a tense loss to fierce rivals India in a low-scoring encounter. Shahid Afridi’s elevation to first drop against India backfired, scoring just 8 off 14 balls, while Mohammad Hafeez, who starred in the win over Bangladesh, was strangely moved down to number seven and faced only five balls.
Spearhead Mohammad Amir has been in particularly ferocious form, taking a combined 3/38 off seven overs across Pakistan’s first two games. While a loss would not guarantee that Pakistan could not progress to the final stages it would leave them relying on other results to advance.
Punjab Cricket Association Stadium
The Punjab Cricket Association Stadium has hosted only one T20I back in 2009 when India successfully chased down Sri Lanka’s 7/206. However in last year’s IPL runs were not so easy to come by in Mohali with only one first innings score in excess of 150, however the side batting first still won three games out of four.
- New Zealand have won eight of their past ten T20Is when batting first.
- New Zealand have had a higher first six over total than their opponents in six of their past seven T20Is.
- New Zealand have won three of their last four T20Is against Pakistan.
- Pakistan have lost four out of their last five T20Is when batting first.
- Pakistan have only once failed to reach the semi-finals of a World T20 tournament.
After an impressive start to the tournament New Zealand are favourites to make it three wins on the trot, with Pakistan outsiders although, to be honest, not quite as big a price as I was expecting.
Given each side’s respective form it’s tempting to back the Kiwis here, especially if they bat first given their recent record when setting a total and also the positive record at the ground. However the Pakistan bowling attack is not one I wish to oppose and they also have a bit more to play for so I think we can find better value elsewhere.
One area the Black Caps seem to have a clearer edge is inside the first six overs. In their last seven T20Is New Zealand have outscored their opponents in the first six overs on six occasions, while for Pakistan they have had the better of the powerplay only four times in their last eight games.
In T20Is this year New Zealand have averaged almost 20 more runs than Pakistan with the bat and while Pakistan have conceded marginally less with the ball, there’s no doubt that the Kiwis boast considerably more power at the top of the order than their opponents. That’s why I’ll be looking to back New Zealand to score the highest six over total.