Pakistan look to add the icing on the cake as New Zealand strive for improvements

Waseem Ahmed 15:47 03/11/2018
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Pakistan are on a roll in T20 cricket.

The series might already be decided but there will no loss in the competitive edge when Pakistan and New Zealand meet in the final T20 at Dubai on Sunday.

Sarfraz Ahmed’s men sealed their 11th straight T20I series win on the bounce when they beat the Kiwis by six wickets on Friday to take an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

As the two sides get ready to lock horns one final time before the start of the ODI series, we look ahead to Sunday’s clash.

WILLIAMSON AND BLACKCAPS LOOK FOR IMPROVEMENT

Coming out of their seven-month hibernation from international cricket, New Zealand have given a terrific account of themselves in the two games so far but have fallen just short on both occasions.

In the first game, they were narrowly beaten by two runs after being well on top before Pakistan chased down their total of 153-7 with two balls to spare on Friday.

It has been a game of fine margins for Kane Williamson and his men and the Kiwi skipper is hoping that they can make the small improvements in the final match of the series.

Much to improve upon for the Kiwis.

Much to improve upon for the Kiwis.

T20 KINGS PAKISTAN LOOK TO MAINTAIN DOMINANCE

“They have been outstanding for a long period of time and the ratings are fair. They are No1 so it is good. They are very very clinical over here in these conditions. They have been very consistent,” Williamson said after his side’s six-wicket defeat.

The Kiwi skipper’s glowing review adds to a growing list of admirers of Pakistan’s T20 prowess. Sarfraz Ahmed’s men have been the undisputed No1 side in the format for some time now with Friday’s win being their 28th in the last 32 matches played by the side.

While the series might be done and dusted, the men in green will not want to take their foot off the accelerator as they bid for a second successive 3-0 series clean sweep following their demolition of Australia last month.

Sarfraz's men are flying at the moment.

Sarfraz’s men are flying at the moment.

SHAHEEN AFRIDI GAINING IN CONFIDENCE

While Pakistan have maintained their T20 supremacy, it has been a coming-of-age series for teenager Shaheen Afridi.

After impressing against Australia, the left-armed pacer has been given an extended run-out against the Kiwis and has grasped his opportunity with both hands.

In the first game, he was entrusted to bowl the crux final over and he repaid his skipper’s faith as Pakistan pulled off a two-run win. In the second game, the youngster produced a man-of-the-match performance that saw his pick up 3-20.

With confidence flowing through the veins of the 18-year-old, he will be itching to put in another solid display on Sunday as he seeks to establish his claim for a place in the 2019 World Cup squad.

Afridi's stature continues to grow.

Afridi’s stature continues to grow.

LIKELY XIs

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Asif Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Hasan Ali.

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (capt), Colin Munro, Glenn Phillips, Colin de Grandhomme, Ross Taylor, Corey Anderson, Tim Seifert (wk), Tim Southee, Adam Milne, Ajaz Patel.

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