Pakistan face unbeaten New Zealand in must-win clash - GulfToday

Pakistan face unbeaten New Zealand in must-win clash

Imad-wasim

Pakistan’s Imad Wasim during nets in Birmingham on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse

Pakistan will play another must-win game when they take on New Zealand, the most consistent team in the World Cup so far, in their crucial encounter at Edgbaston on Wednesday.

Pakistan have played according to their ‘unpredictable team’ tag in the tournament so far. They have registered wins against tournament favourites England and South Africa.

However, they have also conceded comprehensive defeats against West Indies, Australia and India. Their game against Sri Lanka got washed out and now they have five points from six games. They need to win all their remaining three games and also hope that results of matches of other teams go in their favour so that they can make it to the last four stage.

  Pakistan’s batters and bowlers have performed in bits and pieces in the World Cup so far. Their bowling has mostly relied on left-arm pacer Mohammed Amir while their batting revolves around the likes of Hasan Ali, Babar Azam and Fakhar Zaman. However, the main concern for Sarfaraz Ahmed should be their fielding.

The 1992 champions have dropped as many as 14 catches in the six games they have played so far and they need to come up with a much improved performance if they want to beat the Kiwis which are one of the best fielding sides of the world. On the other hand, New Zealand have been a team which has improved constantly with each passing game. Their batting is led by skipper Kane Williamson who has been in tremendous form and has already scored two daddy hundreds. Their bowling, too, looks in fine touch with Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult and Mitchell Santner all chipping in with wickets at crucial junctures of the games.

Their opener Martin Guptill will also aim to add another feather to his cap. He needs 58 more runs to become the second Kiwi player after former skipper Stephen Fleming to score 1,000 World Cup runs.

So far, the right-handed batsman has amassed 942 runs in 22 World Cup innings. The 32-year-old will become the 20th batsman overall to score 1,000 runs in World Cups.

Fleming scored 1,075 runs in 33 innings he played in World Cups for the Black Caps.

Legendary Indian batsman Sachin Tendulkar holds the record for scoring the maximum number of runs in World Cups. He scored 2,278 runs in 44 World Cup innings.

Guptill also holds the record for scoring the highest score in a World Cup. He had played an outstanding innings of 237 against the West Indies in the 2015 edition of the tournament.

With 11 points from six games, the Black Caps are sitting pretty at the top of the table and the win against Pakistan will seal their semifinal spot.

New Zealand coach Gary Stead is confident opening batsmen Guptill and Colin Munro will rediscover their scoring touch.

“In any team you will have times when people don’t score runs. That’s the game of cricket,” Stead said.

“Martin and Colin have both done it for us on numerous occasions and I hope that their time will be the next game.

Guptill and Munro, in full flight, provide New Zealand with an explosive start but the pair have struggled in England, with Williamson (373 runs at 186.5) and Taylor (200 at 50) responsible for the bulk of the side’s runs.

The right-handed Guptill, the only New Zealander to have scored an ODI double century, has been dismissed for two golden ducks and his 133 runs in five innings are mostly courtesy of 73 not out against Sri Lanka in their opening match. The majority of Munro’s 113 runs also came in the 10-wicket victory over Dimuth Karunaratne’s side when he scored 58 not out in Cardiff as he and Guptill chased down the 137 needed for victory in 16.1 overs.

Agencies