Pakistan to play crucial World Cup match against New Zealand today

PESHAWAR: Pakistan will play their next match of the ICC World Cup against New Zealand today (Wednesday) at Birmingham.

The match will begin at 2:30pm (PST). Pakistan have overcome one of four hurdles to keep their hopes of qualifying for semi-finals alive by defeating South Africa in Sunday’s match. However, the next hurdle is tougher as New Zealand are still undefeated in the mega event due to their disciplined performance. Pakistan may take encouragement from their win against England, one of tournament favourites. But beating a disciplined team like New Zealand led by astute captain Williamson will be a difficult task for which Pakistan will have to play out of their skins.

New Zealand have 11 points after playing six matches with five wins and one draw, while Pakistan have five points after six matches with two victories, three defeats and one draw.

New Zealand are doing well and they need not change their playing eleven. Pakistan may also be content with their playing eleven which won them the match against Proteas, but they can think about inclusion of Asif Ali in place of misfiring Mohammad Hafeez. If Mohammad Hasnain finally made debut against New Zealand, he may come at the expense of Shaheen Shah Afridi.

While countering the New Zealand challenge, Pakistan will keep in mind that they might not win if they repeat the fielding mistakes of match against South Africa. Pakistan missed six catches against Proteas and still won the match. However, Pakistan will be mindful of the fact that result may be different if they dropped so many catches against any other team. Winning the toss and batting first will benefit Pakistan.

Pakistan only have semi-final chances if they beat New Zealand, Bang.ladesh and Afghanistan and they other teams also win and loss according to Pakistan’s suitability.

Pakistan squad: Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Asif Ali, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Sohail, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Amir, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Hasnain, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shoaib Malik, Wahab Riaz.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.