Pakistan will face New Zealand in the three-match Test series, starting from 27th December at the National Cricket Stadium. The series is an historic one as it is the first time the Black Caps have travelled to the South Asian country after almost two decades.
The two-match Test series will be part of the ongoing ICC World Test Championship 2022-24. Earlier this season, New Zealand suffered a clean sweep at the hands of England in a Test series played in England.
Both teams have competed in 60 matches in the history of the five-day format where the Men-in-Green have a dominated the proceedings with 25 wins compared to the Kiwis’ 14 victories.
Since 2010 New Zealand have been a far dominant teams in the contests where they went on to win 7 out of 12 matches whereas the Green Caps only secured three victories.
Pakistan Form and Team News:
Pakistan cricket team will be coming in this series slightly favorites because they are playing in their home conditions. Shan Masood, Mohammad Nawaz, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Mohammad Wasim Jnr, and Nauman Ali are expected to retain their places in the Test squad for New Zealand series.
The Babar-Azam led unit is currently playing three-match Test series against England. Former off-spinner Saqlain Mushtaq will resume his role as head coach of Pakistan’s national cricket for this historic series.
The series will also be seen as the test case of Babar Azam’s captaincy who has struggled as a leader in this format this season.
In the batting department, the side will be relying on the likes of Abdullah Shafique, Imam-ul-Haq, captain Babar Azam, veteran Azhar Ali, rookie Saud Shakeel and wicket-keeper Mohammad Rizwan to score bulk of the runs in this two-match Test series.
Opener Abdullah Shafique will be looking to continue his excellent form with the bat in the home season for Pakistan. In his seven Test appearances for Pakistan, Shafique has accumulated 850 runs at an excellent average of 70.83 with three centuries and four half-centuries.
Besides Shafique, opener Imam-ul-Haq will be looking to showcase consistency with the bat for Pakistan in the New Zealand series.
On the bowling front, the onus will be on the likes of star pacers Naseem Shah, Haris Rauf along with the spin duo of Zahid Mehmood and Nauman Ali.
The 24-year old spinner, Abrar Ahmed, has earned his maiden call-up to the national side for England series and is expected to be retained in the Test squad for New Zealand series. Leg-spinner has performed exceedingly well and topped the bowling charts for Sindh in the ongoing Quaid-e-Azam Trophy 2022.
New Zealand Form and Team News:
New Zealand will be coming in this series as underdogs, largely because they haven’t played much in these conditions in recent times.
However, the management will be hoping to see that the side can adjust to the conditions and put on a decent fight.
In the batting department, the Black Caps will be heavily relying on their captain Kane Williamson, openers Devon Conway, Tom Latham, veteran left-hander Henry Nicholls and all-rounder Daryl Mitchell to score bulk of the runs.
All-rounder Daryl Mitchell has shown excellent form with the bat for New Zealand in the five-day format. This year, Mitchell is leading run-scorer for New Zealand in Test cricket. He has accumulated 641 runs in 10 innings at an average of 71.22 with three centuries and three half-centuries.
On the bowling front, the onus will be on the likes of pacers Tim Southee, Trent Boult, Neil Wagner along with left-arm spinner Ajaz Patel to produce timely breakthroughs.
Left-arm pacer Trent Boult has shown excellent form for New Zealand so far this season. In five Test matches played for New Zealand, Boult has taken 25 wickets at an average of 25.48 with two five-wicket hauls to his name.
Both teams look strong on paper so it won’t be easy to be predict a clear winner. Given they are playing against England in home conditions, Pakistan will be well prepared for New Zealand led by Kane Williamson.
On the other hand, New Zealand will have to adjust to the conditions to compete with Pakistan in this two-match Test series.
Therefore, the prediction is for Babar-led unit to win the series with a score of 2-0.