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Pakistan vs New Zealand 3rd Test Preview + Dream11

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Last Updated on 5 years by Charbel Coorey

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Image credit: CricTracker/Twitter

Preview co-written by @Abdushakoorcric.

Here are some truths you can’t deny:
1- Sun rises in the East
2- Earth is round
3- Pakistan team is unpredictable

You just don’t know what you’ll get with when watching a Pakistan match. They can eradicate your hopes when expected to win, and can prove you wrong in your Pakistan-to-lose predictions. One day they find it difficult to stay at the crease and on other occasions they take rest on the pitch for two days. That is the thing Pakistani fans can sometimes boast about when they come out to win the title out of nowhere like the ‘RKO’ of Randy Orton.

Will they come out and take the series or will New Zealand bounce back?

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Pakistan gave fans a scare of a match draw (with possibly an end like ODI series), grinding their way to 418 in nearly two days. But they say “collapses start from ordinary/soft dismissals”, and New Zealand’s started with a drag on by Jeet Raval but not to take credit away from the Yasir Shah who spun a web around the Kiwis. He started to become better and better and unplayable for them, with Mickey Arthur in admiration of Yasir Shah post match. It was one of the finest spells you’ll ever see, which well-and-truly turned the series. Will he take centre stage in Abu Dhabi?

The rain was falling early on day three, and New Zealand were sitting pretty 1-0 up in the series in the changing rooms. The Dubai Test was about how would blink first, with both sides displaying significant patience over the first two days. Unfortunately for the Black Caps, it was they who blinked first, losing 10 wickets for 40 runs in an unforgettable period of play. There was improvement in the second innings, but was ultimately too late thanks to a bad period, which is something New Zealand must avoid in the decider.

Key to a Pakistan win

Pakistan’s batsmen sucked the life out of New Zealand in Dubai, but not before Mohammad Hafeez and Imam-ul-Haq continued their run of underwhelming scores. Hafeez has struggled after his fine comeback-hundred against Australia, not even hitting 50 in six innings since. The following batsmen were superb, though, with Azhar Ali, Babar Azam and Haris Sohail grinding the Black Caps down, which is something Pakistan will be after once again.
Also, another thing Pakistan would probably be keen for is not losing Azhar Ali to a run out. Azhar and runouts is arguably the world’s most beautiful love story right now – he’s involved in more runouts than Umar Akmal in controversies, and has to discuss running with his teammates to not gift New Zealand wickets.
On the bowling front, Pakistan were simply superb in Dubai. Before the start of the series, Hasan Ali had a lot of critics questioning his place in the XI but he has proved them wrong. He bowled some excellent spells of reverse swing and has gripped the dismiss-the-Grandhomme mission tightly. His partnership with the magnificent Yasir Shah will be of even greater importance in Abu Dhabi, with Mohammad Abbas ruled out with a shoulder injury. Yasir’s superb drift, turn and flight was something Mickey Arthur was so impressed with and would be keen to see in Abu Dhabi. Can he rip through New Zealand again?

Key to a New Zealand win

There is little doubt that New Zealand showed stomach for the fight for the most part in Dubai.
However, the short period in which they didn’t cost them the game. They say you can’t win a Test in a session, but you can lose it, which came to the fore in the 2nd Test, and is something the Black Caps must avoid in the decider. Ross Taylor showed his touch with runs, so too Kane Williamson who has had a series full of starts. Like the skipper, New Zealand need to convert their starts into hundreds to pile the pressure on Pakistan. 
Also, what will the make up of New Zealand’s bowling attack look like? Colin de-Grandhomme, like fellow batting all-rounder Marcus Stoinis, is bowling quite well, with his batting the disappointing aspect of his game. Ish Sodhi bowled just 20 odd overs out of 167 in Dubai, which renders his position in the side questionable. Regardless of who is picked, New Zealand will need to find ways of penetrating a Pakistan line up that will again look to grind them down. Can the likes of Trent Boult and Ajaz Patel find greater success?

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Possible teams

Pakistan are at sixes and sevens by the news of Mohammad Abbas’ shoulder injury. Although he has just two wickets this series, he has built pressure, enabling the other bowlers to pounce. Shaheen Shah Afridi is reportedly in line to make his debut, and Bilal Asif could be replaced by Faheem Ashraf.

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/Faheem Ashraf, 9. Hasan Ali, 10. Yasir Shah, 11. Shaheen Shah Afridi

For New Zealand, Tim Southee could come in for Ish Sodhi, who isn’t having the best of times.

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/Ish Sodhi, 9. Neil Wagner, 10. Ajaz Patel, 11. Trent Boult

Dream11

Pakistan’s batting to set things up well again? Below is my Dream11 side with a few pointers.
Pakistan vs New Zealand 3rd Test Preview + Dream11 Cricket Blog CricBlog Cricket Preview
  • BJ Watling continues to be a solid cog in New Zealand’s batting lineup.
  • Kane Williamson is a due a score, and is an option for C or VC. I have gone with Azhar Ali, who looked to be near his best in Dubai. 
  • Mohammad Hafeez is also due a score. Bilal Asif is a chance of being replaced by Faheem Ashraf, so stay clear of Bilal.
  • Yasir Shah is my captain, with Hasan Ali in the side thanks to his excellent bowling this series. 
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Stats and Facts

  • Pakistan’s win in Dubai was their first against New Zealand in five Tests.
  • Yasir Shah is five away from becoming the fastest ever to 200 Test wickets. The current record is 36 Tests by Clarrie Grimmett. Yasir Shah has 195 in 32 Tests.
  • If Pakistan win this Test, it will be their first Test series win v New Zealand since 2010/11.

Prediction

This has the makings of a very competitive series decider.
Do New Zealand have anything left in the tank? Can Pakistan put one final big effort? I think they will and take the series 2-1.
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 also been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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