Sarfraz Ahmed’s men come into the series on the back of a 3-0 clean sweep of Australia in the same format while the Black Caps are returning to action after a long hiatus.
As the two T20 heavyweights get ready to lock horns at Sheikh Zayed stadium, we look at the key talking points.
MEN IN GREEN ON A ROLL
Pakistan affirmed their T20 credentials in the one-sided series win over Aaron Finch’s Australia. The No1 ranked side in the format, Pakistan have won 10 consecutive T20 series in a row under Sarfraz’s captaincy.
The side is a delectable mix of the young and the old with a healthy representation of youngsters mixed with experienced performers in the form of Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz.
With confidence brimming in the side after their excellent run in the format, the ‘hosts’ will want to carry that momentum against the Black Caps who could be a little rusty after their unusual break from international cricket.
BLACK CAPS BACK IN ACTION AFTER SEVEN-MONTH WAIT
It has been some time now since New Zealand featured in an international match. The last time the Black Caps played an international match was in the final Test against England which culminated on April 2.
Since then, Pakistan pacer Mohammad Abbas has picked up 36 Tests wickets in clashes against Ireland, England and Australia while India skipper Virat Kohli has recorded six international tons (three in Tests and three in ODIs).
As such, some rustiness should be expected from Kane Williamson’s men but they will be eager to get back into things after warming their heels on the sidelines for more than half the year.
ANOTHER CHANCE FOR YOUNG SAHIBZADA FARHAN
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed stated in his pre-match address to the media that he will field the same playing XI which featured in the final T20 against Australia on Wednesday at Abu Dhabi.
Explosive opener Fakhar Zaman remains sidelined with a knee injury and will miss out on Wednesday’s clash but his absence means that young Sahibzada Farhan gets another outing in Pakistan colours.
The 22-year-old batsman gave a good account of himself in the final T20 against Australia with a 38-ball 39 in what was just his second appearance in international cricket. With Fakhar expected to return for the remaining clashes, the right-hander will be eager to stamp his mark in Wednesday’s clash.
WHEN: Wednesday, October 31
WHERE: Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi
TIME: 20:00 GS
PAKISTAN: Sahibzada Farhan, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan.
NEW ZEALAND: Kane Williamson (capt), Colin Munro, Ross Taylor, Glenn Phillips (wk), Colin de Grandhomme, Mark Seifert, Corey Anderson, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Lockie Ferguson.
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