Pakistan and NewZealand will go head to head in their 2nd and last match of this tour. This will be the first test of 2021. The last test was won by NewZealand which was heading towards a draw but the NZ bowling pack ripped through the Pakistan batting line up and won the test with just 28 balls remaining in the day.
NewZealand end 2020 on a high
NewZealand ended 2020 on a high note with a Boxing Day test won, becoming the No.1 test side for the first time in history of test cricket. Claimed the No.1 spot in the ICC Test championship table and also the kiwi captain Kane Williamson glided up to the top of ICC test batsman rankings claiming the No.1 spot, ending the decade as the best test side (NewZealand) and best test batsman (Kane Williamson).
Babar less Pakistan
Pakistan have seemed to have trouble throughout the tour but in their defence they had some major blows on the way was they lost their key batsman and captain Babar Azam to a thumb injury and he was ruled out. With him the top order batsman of the side Imam-ul-Haq was also ruled out due to an injury and so was the all rounder Shadab Khan.
Top order failure
As Pakistan’s batting line up was left without crucial parts of it, the opening batsmen of the side failed to produce a well set foundation for the batting line up and collapsed. On this issue The Pakistan captain in absence of Babar Azam; Muhammad Rizwan said:
“We need a little bit of improvement in our top order and then we can perform well. We have done well in the past and can do it again. Runs are due for a few and they will have to score. They have done it before, and I trust them to do it again. I know conditions are tough, but then all they have to do is see off the new ball, stay in, and make big scores.”
Matt Henry in, Neil Wagner out.
Neil Wagner who suffered an injury in his toes and fracture them has been ruled out of the second test due to the injury. His replacement is Matt Henry who starred in the World Cup 2019 semi final against India ripping through their top order.
Players to watch out:
• Fawad Alam: Fawad who scored a brilliant and patient hundred in the first test is someone NewZealand should look out for. He will be looking to score more runs during the tour and help his side level the series.
• Muhammad Rizwan: The Pakistan captain has scored 4 consecutive 50s in his last tests so NewZealand should watch out for him. He is very dangerous once he settles in and runs keep on flowing easily for him.
• Shaheen Shah Afridi: The young pacer is unstoppable when he opens with the new ball. He is very dangerous when the ball is swinging Hard.
• Kane Williamson: we all know how much of a genius Williamson is. He’s is all class and his composure is his best strategy. It would take something special for Pakistan to get him out.
• Ross Taylor: The most experienced of the NewZealand side is defiantly a dangerous gun. In the first test Williamson and Ross partnered up and saved NZ from a lethal opening spell from Shaheen. Pakistan should try and not let those two do the same again.
• Boult and Southee: the pair causes irrecoverable destruction to be opponent side with the new ball. It’s hard to survive when they both bowl together.
A green pitch awaits the two teams, however, that will not mean complete ignorance for spinners. The record for the home side at the Hagley Oval infuses nothing but a promise. They have not lost a single match in 8 appearances thus far, and boast 6 wins and a draw. One of these six includes their 8-wicket victory over their immediate rivals in November 2016.
Tom Latham, Tom Blundell, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Henry Nicholls, BJ Watling (WK), Daryl Mitchell/Mitchell Santner, Trent Boult, Kyle Jamieson, Matt Henry, Tim Southee.
Abid Ali, Shan Masood, Azhar Ali, Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (C & WK), Faheem Ashraf, Haris Sohail, Yasir Shah, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Abbas.