New Zealand vs Pakistan – 1st T20 International Preview

When? Monday, 22nd January

Where? Westpac Stadium, Wellington

Weather? Rain expected in Wellington earlier in the day but should be dry for the match

What channel is it on? Sky Sports Main Event

Are tickets still available? http://premier.ticketek.co.nz/events/T20BCPAW18/venues/WWT/performances/EWWT2018622/tickets

Where can I stream the match? Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via the SkyGo app

NEW ZEALAND

  • New Zealand have dominated the test and one-day series against Pakistan, and they will now be aiming to carry that over into the T20 international in which they are heavily favoured as the number one ranked team in the world.
  • They have decided to rest Trent Boult and Lockie Ferguson for this opening match and will likely give the likes of Ben Wheeler and Ish Sodhi an opportunity to come in after they have impressed in the domestic Super Smash competition.
  • They are also expected to bring in Glenn Phillips as wicketkeeper and Tom Bruce into the middle order as Nicholls and Latham are both rested, but they will be confident of having more than enough quality and firepower despite the changes to pick up their 13th consecutive win over Pakistan in all formats of the game.

Expected team: Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (capt), Ross Taylor, Glenn Phillips (wk), Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Ben Wheeler, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi

PAKISTAN

Pakistan will be desperately hoping that they can rediscover some form in this three-match T20 series and they will be take some solace from the fact that they are 2nd in the ICC world rankings in this format, and they showed signs of improvement in the last two one-day internationals.

  • The batting has let them down throughout the one-day series and the likes of Babar Azam have to find some form as he scored just 31 runs in those five matches and he has struggled badly to adapt to conditions on this tour of New Zealand.
  • Hasan Ali returns to the squad after missing the last one-day international with a groin strain while Shoaib Malik has returned home due to a concussion and his absence will weaken this fragile batting line-up even further.

Expected team: Ahmed Shehzad, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Sarfraz Ahmed (capt & wk), Shadab Khan, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir

PREDICTION

The gulf between these two teams has been significant in the test and one-day series, as Pakistan have struggled to come to terms with conditions in New Zealand. With the loss of Shoaib Malik, they are weakened further and it is difficult to see them competing once again. New Zealand have a strong T20 side and despite make some rotations, still have the quality and big hitting with the likes of Munro and De Grandhomme that can take this game away from Pakistan quickly. The visitors will struggle to match them in all areas, and another home win is on the cards.