In the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023's crucial stages, New Zealand's battle with Pakistan emerges as a defining contest, with much more than pride at stake; it's a pivotal duel for a semi-final slot. Amidst a sequence of setbacks and the Black Caps' injury woes, alongside Pakistan's renewed hopes, this encounter promises a gripping high-stakes drama. A tussle that's poised not just to alter the ranks but to add a thrilling chapter to the tournament's unfolding saga.
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Match Preview: New Zealand vs Pakistan, ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 35th Match
ICC World Cup • 4 Nov, 2023 • 3,451 Views • ⭐ 5.0
Written by Anand Swami
The Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bengaluru, with its reputation for being a batting haven, promises a high-scoring affair. Characterized by its short boundaries, this ground has historically been conducive to batters, often turning matches into run fests. The venue's pitch typically offers little for bowlers, challenging them to innovate and execute their skills perfectly to contain aggressive batting line-ups. The stadium's enthusiastic crowd adds to the electrifying atmosphere, making it a memorable venue for both players and spectators alike.
Form Guide - New Zealand
New Zealand's trajectory in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 is a narrative of two halves. The team started their season with a strong four-match winning streak, the Kiwis' campaign hit a rough patch, resulting in three consecutive losses, marking their form as LLLWW. Their victories against England, Netherlands, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan showcased solid cricket, albeit without the dazzle many might expect from a team once considered semi-final shoo-ins. Injuries have since plagued the squad, with key players like Kane Williamson nursing ailments, though they have been training in preparation for the upcoming match.
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The concerning dip in New Zealand's form could be attributed to their defeats at the hands of formidable opponents India and Australia, albeit by slender margins. However, it was the substantial loss to South Africa, which resulted in a 190-run drubbing, that not only hurt their net run rate but also kept Pakistan's hopes for a semi-final berth alive. As they head into the high-stakes match against Pakistan, New Zealand faces a do-or-die situation: to reclaim their winning ways or potentially tumble out of the top four.
Form Guide - Pakistan
Pakistan's form in the ICC Cricket World Cup 2023 paints a picture of struggle and resurgence. Their recent form reads WLLLL, with a much-needed victory against Bangladesh breathing life into their campaign. Before this, Pakistan experienced a string of four defeats, which critically undermined its position. Concerns have been raised about their middle order's fragility and the bowlers' inconsistency, issues that have historically troubled the team yet never fully deterred their spirit in ICC tournaments. The ascent of Shaheen Shah Afridi as the joint-second-highest wicket-taker in the tournament indicates a silver lining, with his recent performances hinting at a return to form.
The rejuvenation of Fakhar Zaman is another positive, as his return against Bangladesh saw him unleash a vintage display of aggression, hinting at a potential turning point for Pakistan's top-order woes. Furthermore, Mohammad Wasim's discovery of reverse swing at crucial stages has added a new dimension to their bowling arsenal. As they square off against New Zealand, Pakistan's objective is clear: to disrupt the current standings and carve a path to the semi-finals. The stakes could not be higher, and for fans, a gripping contest awaits as Pakistan aims to transform hints of form into a complete performance.
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Players to Watch
Trent Boult has previously shone on the world stage, having been the joint highest wicket-taker in the 2015 World Cup and ranking eighth in 2019, armed with one of the finest economy rates (4.83) among frontline pacers. However, in the 2023 edition, his performances, while reliable, lack the lustre of previous tournaments. With an average of 33.10 and an economy rate of 5.09, his stats have seen a downtrend, placing him lower on the wickets tally with ten from seven games. Given that 13 out of the 17 bowlers who have taken more than ten wickets thus far are quicks, Boult's role with the new ball remains a crucial aspect for New Zealand to watch.
Pakistan's leg-spin department has been underwhelming with Shadab Khan and Usama Mir both failing to make a significant impact. Their experiment of playing both against Afghanistan resulted in a lacklustre bowling display, arguably their weakest in this tournament. In contrast, New Zealand has made their stance on leg-spin quite evident, with Ish Sodhi being sidelined for the duration of the World Cup. Pakistan, on the other hand, has been leaning towards all-rounder Iftikhar Ahmed, even preferring Mohammad Nawaz for high-pressure situations like the final over against South Africa. The decision on how to manage the leg-spin role remains a talking point, and the chosen strategy and player will be under intense scrutiny in the games to come.
New Zealand has added Kyle Jamieson to their squad after an injury forced Matt Henry out. However, they are facing multiple injury concerns. On a positive note, Kane Williamson with a thumb injury, Mark Chapman with a calf problem, Lockie Ferguson with an Achilles concern, and Jimmy Neesham with a wrist problem, all took part in the training session in Bengaluru.The final decision on their fitness for the game, as per New Zealand Cricket, will be made on the day of the match, possibly during the coin toss.
It is expected that Jamieson will be included in the playing XI without delay. Pakistan's Fakhar Zaman is likely to bat at the top of the order following a return to form. Although Agha Salman did not contribute with bat or ball in the previous game against Bangladesh, he is expected to retain his place, possibly ahead of Mohammad Nawaz.
Pitch and Weather Report
Clear skies at Bengaluru's Chinnaswamy Stadium may yield to overcast conditions and probable rain in the second half, making the toss crucial. A batting-friendly pitch promises high scores despite some help from bowlers. With a 90% chance of rain, temperatures around 27°C, and 73% humidity, conditions could prove challenging, especially with winds at 16 kmph potentially impacting post-rain play.
New Zealand (Possible): Glenn Phillips, Tom Latham (capt & wk), Kyle Jamieson, Trent Boult, Daryl Mitchell, Mitchell Santner, Will Young, Tim Southee/Lockie Ferguson, James Neesham, Devon Conway, Rachin Ravindra
Pakistan (Possible): Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Babar Azam (capt), Shadab Khan/Mohammad Nawaz, Fakhar Zaman, Saud Shakeel, Abdullah Shafique, Agha Salman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim
You can watch the live broadcast of the World Cup 2023 match between New Zealand and Pakistan on the Star Sports Network in India. If you prefer to stream it online, you can also watch it on Disney+ Hotstar. If you are in New Zealand, you can catch the match on Sky Sport NZ, while in Pakistan, you can tune in to PTV or ARY Digital Network. The toss is scheduled for 10:00 AM IST, and the match will start at 10:30 AM IST. If you are in New Zealand, the match will start at 6:00 PM NZDT, and if you are in Pakistan, it will begin at 10:00 AM PKT.
The New Zealand vs Pakistan encounter escalates beyond a standard match to a high-drama knockout round. In this pivotal moment of the World Cup, both teams, each at a crossroads, confront their destinies. It’s a game charged with expectation, where strategy and spirit will collide, and only one will emerge to keep their World Cup dream intact. This contest encapsulates the fierce battle for survival and the relentless pursuit of cricketing glory.
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