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CWC 2019 – Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

CWC 2019 – Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points. PAK vs NZ: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match

The atmosphere was raucous. Lahore-like. The sea of green held a collective belief that Pakistan can match the incredible feats of 1992. Their incredible support on a crucial day held Pakistan in great stead.

The bowlers’ brilliant start was then finished off in classy fashion by the talented Babar Azam. New Zealand were due a loss, and this was it, going down to a Pakistan side that is starting to pick up confidence and form ahead of the Semi Finals. Watch out, England.

Here are five talking points from Pakistan’s strong six wicket win to keep their CWC 2019 hopes well and truly alive.

Download: Making cricket an interactive experience! Discover Harrison Cricket Apps ODI version. For full screenshots, click here.

1. Babar Azam dictates the game

I wrote that Babar Azam played one of his more significant innings against South Africa at Lord’s. He followed it up with an innings of even greater significance in Birmingham, translating gorgeous strokeplay into truly meaningful runs that adds another dimension to this Pakistan side.

Haris Sohail played the lead role against South Africa, with Babar taking a back seat. Here, it was Babar leading the way, emulating his idol Virat Kohli by scoring an unbeaten century in a successful chase. He picked and choosed when to attack, reaching a century amid huge roars that is sure to create goosebumps for all Pakistan fans.

With Babar and Haris in this kind of form, who knows just what Pakistan could achieve.

Also read: India v West Indies World Cup Preview Dream11

CWC 2019 - Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points. PAK vs NZ: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match. Cricket World Cup blog. Cricket Blog CricBlog
Image: Getty Images. Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points – Babar Azam plays his best knock of CWC 2019.

2. Shaheen Shah Afridi has his best day

In his first 10 ODIs, Shaheen Shah Afridi took 19 wickets at 19.4 with an economy rate of 4.6. In his five ODIs before this game against New Zealand, the average and economy rate read 41.7 and 7.7 respectively. So, Shaheen was under pressure to justify his place in the side, which can be disconcerting for a young player.

However, he responded brilliantly. Babar Azam’s brilliance rendered Shaheen unlucky not to win man of the match, after delivering a spell to remember by ripping through New Zealand’s top and middle order. His length was a thing of beauty, often catching New Zealand’s batsmen on the crease, finding the edge for all three of his wickets. As a result, New Zealand were always playing catch up, and it was courtesy of Shaheen who crucially delivered on a day where Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz did not have their best outings.

CWC 2019 - Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points. PAK vs NZ: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match. Cricket World Cup blog. Cricket Blog CricBlog
Image: Twitter. Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points – Shaheen was brilliant.

Download: Making cricket an interactive experience! Discover Harrison Cricket Apps ODI version. For full screenshots, click here.

3. New Zealand’s all-rounders play brilliantly and out of character

Jimmy Neesham is not just the king of social media. He is an attacking middle order batsman. Colin de Grandhomme the same.

However, their partnership highlighted their capabilities in adjusting to the situation. Something England just can’t seem to do. Neesham and de Grandhomme both had to curb their natural instincts with New Zealand 84/5 and down in the dumps with Kane Williamson dismissed. Perhaps surprisingly to many, they were able to do that, rotating the strike in the early parts of their partnership before giving themselves a chance to launch in the final overs.

237 looked way off with 20 overs to go. New Zealand were not even at 100. But, both Neesham and de Grandhomme played innings that adds value to their cricketing abilities. They aren’t just bigger hitters. They are thinking cricketers.

Also read: India v West Indies World Cup Preview Dream11

CWC 2019 - Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points. PAK vs NZ: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match. Cricket World Cup blog. Cricket Blog CricBlog
Image credit: Getty Images. Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points – ‘Neesh’ has been playing well in CWC 2019.

4. The Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and Tom Latham problem

New Zealand have an issue. Their over-reliance on Kane Williamson looked to cost them dearly before Jimmy Neesham and Colin de Grandhomme gave them something to bowl at.

The form of New Zealand’s openers, as well as Tom Latham, is a big concern. The Black Caps’ persistence with Colin Munro is particularly surprising, with Henry Nicholls watching on from the sidelines as Munro shows why averages just 25 in 57 ODIs. Guptill is looking a player that might benefit from an accumulator at the other end, which is a case for Nicholls to come back into the side. Also, Latham’s poor form was a key talking point in New Zealand’s tight win over Bangladesh. Things haven’t improved, scoring 13*, 1, 12 and 1 since his ordinary dismissal that day.

So, what do New Zealand do with two games left in the group stage? Sticking with something that clearly isn’t working is just as much a risk (if not more) than making adjustments, and here are some of their options:

  • Swap Tom Latham and Colin Munro in the batting order, moving Munro to the middle where he has enjoyed some success in List A cricket. Also, this might work out for Latham, coming out to bat right away instead of thinking about things in the dressing room.
  • Replace Colin Munro with Henry Nicholls, leaving the wicketkeeping option in the middle order.
  • Test Tom Blundell out ahead of Tom Latham.
CWC 2019 - Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points. PAK vs NZ: 5 key talking points from their 2019 World Cup match. Cricket World Cup blog. Cricket Blog CricBlog
Image: Getty Images. Pakistan v New Zealand: 5 key talking points – Plenty still rests on Kane Williamson

5. Pakistan’s room for improvement

It was a fantastic win for Pakistan. However, it was not a game without its faults.

New Zealand were struggling badly at 84/5. Pakistan had the Black Caps on the ropes, but took the foot off the accelerator pedal a little to allow New Zealand back into the game. It started with bringing Imad Wasim on in the 32nd over instead of one of the leading strike bowlers, which allowed Neesham and de Grandhomme to get into their innings.

But, the biggest issue for Pakistan is their fielding. They are the worst side in the tournament when it comes to fielding, and it takes some effort to be ahead of Afghanistan, who have also been incredibly poor in this area. Sloppy fielding and lack of concentration gifted New Zealand at least 10-15 extra runs. They won this match well in the end, but more of the same in future matches can prove mighty costly for Pakistan.

However, Pakistan can dream of a repeat of 1992. Sure, it might still seem a distant possibility, but such an eerie similarity to that campaign just can’t be ignored. With matches against Afghanistan and Bangladesh to come, Pakistan can really believe they can sneak into the Semi Finals ahead of hosts England, who still have India and New Zealand to play.

Also read: India v West Indies World Cup Preview Dream11

Download: Making cricket an interactive experience! Discover Harrison Cricket Apps ODI version. For full screenshots, click here.

Thanks for reading!

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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