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Pakistan vs New Zealand 2nd Test Preview + Dream11

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

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Image credit: AFP



Co-written by @Abdushakoorcric

Perhaps not even the most passionate and positive Pakistan fans could have been surprised at the events of Abu Dhabi on Monday.

With so much of cricket going on in all parts, no one can forget the loss that Pakistan achieved. Passionate fan @Abdushakoorcric was about to reply “not at all” on a tweet asking, “43 runs needed. Any chance for New Zealand?” Good he didn’t reply, otherwise he would have been rushing to delete it!

In one of the most thrilling Test matches in recent times, 46 runs to win with seven wickets in hand for Pakistan should have meant heading to Dubai with the chance to seal the series. Instead, due to a lack of composure, they will be fighting to keep it alive.

However, no credit should be taken away from New Zealand, who hung in there for the whole Test. Can they keep the pressure on Pakistan and become the second team in just over a year to win a Test series in fortress UAE?

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Pakistan were the subject of widespread memes on social media, and understandably so after throwing away victory in Abu Dhabi. Composure is key in Test cricket, and Pakistan need to display it in Dubai to keep the series alive against a New Zealand side that won’t go away. Sarfraz Ahmed’s side were able to bounce back strongly after a recent first Test setback against Australia, and will be hoping for the same here. Will they take the series to a decider?

New Zealand plucked victory from the jaws from defeat – a remarkable feat considering their batting was a struggle in the first Test. There were starts, especially in the second innings, that weren’t converted to substantial scores, but what has characterises New Zealand is their never-say-die attitude. The big question heading into the Dubai Test is whether New Zealand indeed have the edge over Pakistan mentally, and whether they can use this to their advantage to seal the series.

Key to a Pakistan win

Pakistan’s bowling was a relentless, well-oiled machine that just wouldn’t let New Zealand off the hook in Abu Dhabi. Evidence of this was that Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling’s partnership, that lasted 50+ overs, didn’t stop the Pakistani bowlers from sticking to their guns. Yasir Shah and Hasan Ali were particularly brilliant, getting their Test careers heading in the right direction, backed up superbly by the miserly Mohammad Abbas. Can Pakistan’s attack again heap the pressure on New Zealand’s batsmen?
However, Pakistan need to refrain from “doing a Pakistan” with the bat, which led to fans from all nations wondering if indeed they would chase the target from such a strong position. Lack of concentration and temperament haunted Pakistan in Abu Dhabi, and need more support for their experienced players such as Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq. Imam ul Haq played some beautiful shots first up to Trent Boult but along with him, Hafeez is having a shocker after a good comeback century against Australia. The middle order is good enough with Babar, Azhar and Asad, but Sarfraz needs to step up his game and play the situation well.

Key to a New Zealand win

New Zealand picked up an amazing win in the first Test, but someone like Kane Williamson will ensure his side keep its feet grounded, especially after a struggle with the bat. Skipper Williamson will be key for New Zealand to drag the innings away from the hands of Pakistan, and continue building the pressure on Sarfraz Ahmed. Jeet Raval, Henry Nicholls and BJ Watling all looked promising and will also be key, along with Ross Taylor and Tom Latham, who were short of runs in Abu Dhabi. Losing wickets in clumps is something New Zealand must avoid, which puts on the onus on the top six to deliver strong partnerships.
With the ball, New Zealand were justified in keeping Tim Southee out. Ajaz Patel, on debut, was superb with the ball, taking a fifer to snatch victory from the Azhar Ali-dependent Pakistan. He is a strong cog in the bowling department, along with Trent Boult and Neil Wagner, who were superb in the first and second innings respectively. However, Ish Sodhi, despite a few key wickets in Abu Dhabi, hasn’t quite hit his straps, and will need to in Dubai if New Zealand are to further heap the pressure of Pakistan.

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Possible teams

Shaheen Shah Afridi could make his debut over Bilal Asif, who was a little off-colour in Abu Dhabi, including that shot with the game on the line. Another player to look out for is Haris Sohail, who was dismissed twice to full tosses, which is not on.
Pakistan: 1. Imam-ul-Haq. 2. Mohammad Hafeez, 3. Azhar Ali, 4. Haris Sohail, 5. Asad Shafiq, 6. Babar Azam, 7. Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), 8. Bilal Asif, 9. Hasan Ali, 10. Yasir Shah, 11. Mohammad Abbas
New Zealand will likely go in with the same team.
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. Ish Sodhi, 9. Neil Wagner, 10. Ajaz Patel, 11. Trent Boult

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Will the batsmen have a better time of things in Dubai? Below is my team with a few pointers.
Pakistan vs New Zealand 2nd Test Preview + Dream11 Cricket Blog Cricket Preview CricBlog
  • BJ Watling makes my side again over Sarfraz Ahmed.
  • Pakistan’s trio of Imam ul Haq, Azhar Ali and Asad Shafiq inspire confidence, and will be looking for bigger runs in the second Test.
  • Kane Williamson looked in fine touch in Abu Dhabi, and captains my side. I am backing Tom Latham to have a better Test this time around.
  • Bilal Asif is an option, but there are murmurs he could be left out. Mohammad Abbas, despite his wicketless second innings in Abu Dhabi, is a must. Hasan Ali and Ajaz Patel offer fine value.

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Stats and Facts

  • Mohammad Abbas’ wicketless second innings was the first time he has gone wicketless in an innings in his career (11 Tests).
  • BJ Watling needs 94 to reach 3,000 runs in Tests.
  • New Zealand became the second side to win more than one Test against Pakistan in the UAE since it became their adopted home.

Prediction

Predicting a result in a Pakistan game is tough, isn’t it?
However, I will predict Pakistan will bounce back and win the second on the back their bowling and an improved batting effort.
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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