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Pakistan’s last win in New Zealand in any format came back in 2015 in what was a T20I game at Eden Park. Since then it has been a tough road for them in New Zealand. They lost the ODI series 5-0 on the current tour and though they showed in the final two games, a win remained elusive. But a change in format may put them back on winning ways. Pakistan will take on New Zealand in first T20I of the three-match series at Eden Park on Monday.
Pakistan will surely give themselves a better chance to win T20Is given their unpredictability in the format. They are the second ranked team in the world in this format and give the talent they have in the team, Pakistan can upset New Zealand.
The Blacks Caps exploited Pakistan’s weakness in the ODIs when they removed the top order in the first ten overs. If this happens in the T20Is as well, Pakistan will have a tough time making a comeback in the match. If they are the number two in the world, then New Zealand are number one.
Pakistan are also battling some injury issues with Shoaib Malik returning home after the concussion complain. But the inclusion of Ahmed Shehzad is a good news. He has been in good form in the shortest format of the game. Babar Azam will also play a key role for Pakistan. He had a horror ODI series with an average of just 6.25 in five games. He would like to be among some runs in the T20Is.
New Zealand, though no one is injured, have opted to rest a couple of players. Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson are rested for the first T20Is but this gives a chance to Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Tom Bruce, Anaru Kitchen, Ish Sodhi and Ben Wheeler to make a mark if they are included.
On a pitch that is expected to be batting friendly, New Zealand will back their chances to beat Pakistan, having carried the momentum of the ODI series. But, Pakistan cannot be taken lightly in a format that they can easily be unbeatable.