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HomeCricBlogPakistan vs New Zealand 1st Test Preview + Dream11

Pakistan vs New Zealand 1st Test Preview + Dream11

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey



Preview co-written by @Abdushakoorcric

After an ODI series that took us back a few years, given the way it was played at times, the Test series is here. After a Test-like 1-1 draw in the ODIs, both sides will be keen to get over the other in a three-match series that had the same result when New Zealand were in the UAE in 2014.

Pakistan are coming off a 1-0 series win in Australia, bouncing back after the Aussies secured an amazing draw in the first to win the second comfortably on the fourth day.
For New Zealand, their last Test was in March, and will be up for the challenge in trying to dislodge Pakistan in the UAE. Can they make a strong start to the series in Abu Dhabi?

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If New Zealand believe spin is their only challenge, they would be incredibly ignorant and in for a shock. Pakistan have unearthed a gem in Mohammad Abbas, whose unrelenting accuracy is something the home side would be hoping for a repeat of. Along with the spinners, Pakistan have an attack that can challenge New Zealand – will it all come together nicely in the first Test for Pakistan?
Remember what you were doing when New Zealand last played in March? They beat England at home by the same margin of the Pakistan-Australia series recently, and will take the field in the first Test with a good bowling attack on paper. Can they deliver against a Pakistan side very accustomed to these conditions?

Key to a Pakistan win


What a bowler Mohammad Abbas is proving to be for Pakistan. The battle against Kane Williamson, who is passed fit to play, promises to be an absolute beauty, with Abbas bowling with heart in all conditions to bear fruit for his team. Abbas holds the key in finding early wickets, as well as testing the Black Caps batsmen with reverse swing.
Also, what impact will Yasir Shah and Bilal Asif have after the Australia series? Both were good but not spectacular, enjoying fruitful moments mixed in with barren ones. Will they maintain pressure and penetrate the Black Caps batting line up when called on?
On the batting front, Azhar Ali is coming off an underwhelming series against Australia, highlighted by his comical run out in Abu Dhabi. He will be key for Pakistan in grinding New Zealand down, along with Imam-ul-Haq who will be tasked with keeping the experienced New Zealand bowlers at bay early on. Also, can the likes of Mohammad Hafeez, Babar Azam (who is yet to truly find his feet in Tests) and Asad Shafiq keep New Zealand working hard in the field?

Key to a New Zealand win


Openers Jeet Raval and Tom Latham will be key in containing Mohammad Abbas as much as possible, giving New Zealand a platform in which they can set up their innings.
But, in what will be of huge interest, Kane Williamson’s performance will dictate how well New Zealand go here, with the classy and magnificent skipper tasked with overcoming Abbas and Pakistan’s spinners with his superb technique, drives and wrists to pierce gaps to keep New Zealand moving. Of course, Ross Taylor, BJ Watling and Henry Nicholls are also key, ensuring there is no risk of a collapse with strong partnerships right throughout.
Also, New Zealand will likely go in with a seam-dominant attack, which presents a challenge in these conditions. Can Trent Boult and Tim Southee extract enough movement to hurt Pakistan’s batsmen? How will they compete against Mohammad Abbas, and how well can Neil Wagner push the Pakistani batsmen back on these pitches? Also, and perhaps most significantly, can Ish Sodhi deliver the goods? He will likely be the only specialist spinner, which places significant onus on him to build pressure for his captain.

Possible teams


After a fine Test debut, Fakhar Zaman won’t be available here as he is rested. Also, Shaheen Shah Afridi is unlikely to make his Test debut, with Mir Hamza and Mohammad Abbas the seam bowling options.
Pakistan: 1. Imam-ul-Haq, 2. Mohammad Hafeez, 3. Azhar Ali, 4. Haris Sohail, 5. Babar Azam, 6. Asad Shafiq, 7. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), 8. Mir Hamza/Hasan Ali, 9. Bilal Asif, 10. Mohammad Abbas, 11. Yasir Shah
For New Zealand, Kane Williamson is said to have overcome a groin strain and will take the field.
New Zealand: 1. Jeet Raval, 2. Tom Latham, 3. Kane Williamson (c), 4. Ross Taylor, 5. Henry Nicholls, 6. BJ Watling (wk), 7. Colin de Grandhomme, 8. Tim Southee, 9. Ish Sodhi/Ajaz Patel, 10. Neil Wagner, 11. Trent Boult

Dream11


Should batting dominate your Dream11? Below is my team with a few pointers.

  • BJ Watling is a superb batting option, as he puts a really high price on his wicket.
  • Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor make my side, and so too the solid Imam-ul-Haq and Azhar Ali (vc)
  • Bilal Asif represents good value in the all rounder spot, and Hafeez will have a key role to play. If you feel confident to leave him out, do so.
  • Mohammad Abbas is my captain. He is brilliant. Whether New Zealand seamers are worth adding is up to you, but I have decided against it with conditions typically challenging for tourist seamers. Keep an eye out for whether Patel will play.

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Stats and Facts


  • New Zealand and Pakistan played out a thrilling 1-1 series draw in 2014.

  • Since 2010, Pakistan and New Zealand have met seven times, with New Zealand winning three matches to two.

  • Shaheen Shah Afridi has only played two first class games.

  • No member of the Pakistan squad were even 18 when Mohammad Hafeez made his Test debut in 2003.
  • Mohammad Abbas has the fourth-best bowling average in the history of Test cricket.

Prediction


Promises to be a competitive Test, but New Zealand’s spin attack could be a concern.
Pakistan are strong in these conditions, despite a mini-barren run before their last win against Australia, and will win here.

Thanks for reading!

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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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