New Zealand will take on Pakistan in the second encounter of the T20 tri-series, also involving Bangladesh, at the Hagley Oval in Christchurch on Saturday (October 8). Babar Azam and Co. hammered Bangladesh by 21 runs in the first match of the series and would look to keep that momentum going. Meanwhile, New Zealand have won nine of their 10 T20Is this year, but all those wins have come against teams like West Indies, Ireland, Scotland and the Netherlands.
The Hagley Oval in Christchurch has hosted 12 T20s since 2021 and the batters here have scored runs at an average of 24.3 and a scoring rate of 8, while a wicket has fallen every 18.2 deliveries. The fast bowlers here have slightly better numbers, with them operating at an average of 25.9 and a strike rate of 18.8 in this period. Meanwhile, the corresponding numbers for spinners are 26.6 and 22.2 respectively.
In the first encounter, Pakistan managed 167/5 in their 20 overs and then restricted Bangladesh to 146/8. There are some quality fast bowlers and spinners on offer and it would be ideal to have a couple of spinners in your team who can also bat. When it comes to batting, both Pakistan and New Zealand have batters who have been very consistent of late.
While you could go for the above team, you can also choose your team from Cricket.com’s Fantasy Research Centre. You can use this tool to build your team with the help of algorithms. Then, based on your preferences, the platform will guide you through creating the ideal fantasy XI.
* Daryl Mitchell has been ruled out due to a fractured finger, while Mitchell Santner is not available for the first encounter.
For small leagues: Mohammad Rizwan (c), Glenn Phillips (vc)
For grand leagues: Devon Conway (c), Babar Azam (vc)
Stats that matter
Mohammad Rizwan simply can't stop scoring runs. The wicketkeeper-batter slammed 78* off 50 against Bangladesh and almost single-handedly propelled Pakistan to a match-winning total. In 2022, the wicketkeeper-batter from Pakistan has slammed 698 runs in 14 innings at a stunning average of 63.45. He has eight half-centuries to his name and has been dismissed under 20 only thrice in this time period.
Since the start of 2022, Glenn Phillips has scored 319 runs in eight innings at an average of 53.17 and a strike rate of 145 in T20Is.
With 18 wickets in 14 T20Is, no other Pakistan bowler has picked up more wickets than Haris Rauf in 2022.
In T20Is in 2022, legspinner Ish Sodhi has claimed 16 wickets in 10 innings at a strike rate of 13.9. He hasn't gone wicketless in his last 11 innings.
Grand League punts
Pakistan captain Babar Azam didn't have a great Asia Cup but did get a couple of big scores against England. The right-handed opener slammed a century in the second T20I and then got 87* in the sixth encounter. He didn't do much in the remaining five games and got only 22 against Bangladesh in the first game of the series. And, he would be eager to return back to his absolute best prior to the T20 World Cup.
Devon Conway has only featured in 23 T20Is so far but has managed to score 708 runs in 20 innings at an average of 47.20 and a strike rate of 138.28.
James Neesham has been in superb form this year, having smoked 191 runs in nine innings at an average of 38.2 and an outstanding strike rate of 207.6. 153 of those runs have come in the death overs. The allrounder has also picked up four wickets in this period.
New Zealand - Martin Guptill, Finn Allen, Kane Williamson (c), Devon Conway (wk), Glenn Phillips, James Neesham, Michael Bracewell, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
Pakistan - Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Shan Masood, Haider Ali, Iftikhar Ahmed, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Haris Rauf, Shahnawaz Dahani/Naseem Shah.