In the must-win match against New Zealand at Bengaluru’s M.Chinnaswamy Stadium on Saturday, Pakistan captain Babar Azam opts bowl first.
The team added Hasan Ali for Usama Mir, while the Kiwis made three changes. Ish Sodhi, Mark Chapman, and Kane Williamson replace James Neesham, Matt Henry, and Will Young today.
Williamson replied, “My personal prep has been slightly limited but nice to be back.”
Babar Azam confidently said “we bowled well in previous matches” of his bowlers.
Babar Azam opts bowl first after winning toss against New Zealand
The winner of today’s game will be a strong semi-final candidate. Pakistan lost humiliatingly to India, Australia, Afghanistan, and South Africa. In their last match in Kolkata, they beat Bangladesh by seven wickets, giving fans hope. However, the Black Caps lost three straight to India, Australia, and South Africa after a strong start.
Pakistan is behind in net run rate (NRR) and now depend on Afghanistan’s matches after Hashmatullah Shahidi’s men beat the Netherlands on Friday. A loss to either team today would seriously hurt their chances of making the semi-finals. A day ago, team director Mickey Arthur said he wanted to win and improve their net run rate. He also suggested a Pakistani strategy adjustment.
Pakistan may play with four pacers due to the pacey conditions in Bengaluru, but they will monitor the pitch and weather today. Only Shadab Khan and Imam-ul-Haq are doubtful for today’s match, while the Black Caps will be missing pacer Matt Henry and Lockie Ferguson, Kane Williamson, and Mark Chapman.
A pitch report
The M Chinnaswamy Stadium’s low boundaries and speedy outfield help batsmen score runs. Pacers like Bengaluru’s surface, but tomorrow’s weather forecast predicts 50% rain, especially in the second half, thus winning the toss is crucial.
The two teams have played nine ODI World Cups, with Pakistan winning seven. New Zealand’s best score against Pakistan is 302, while Pakistan’s is 281. Pakistan has won 60 of 115 one-day cricket matches against the Kiwis.
Playing XI Pakistan:
Abdullah Shafique, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saud Shakeel, Iftikhar Ahmed, Agha Salman, Mohammad Wasim, Hasan Ali, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Haris Rauf. New Zealand: Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra, Kane Williamson (c), Daryl Mitchell, Tom Latham (wk), Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Trent Boult