Babar’s century leads Pakistan to a crushing win over NZ in the first T20
Pakistan and New Zealand are currently playing a bilateral series in Pakistan, comprising five T20Is and five ODIs. The series started from April 14, 2023 and will end on May 7, 2023. The first three T20Is are being played at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, while the last two T20Is and the five ODIs are scheduled at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium and the National Stadium in Karachi respectively.
The series is a part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League 2023-25 and also serves as a compensation for the curtailed series in 2021 when New Zealand had to abandon the tour over security concerns. The series also marks the return of international cricket in Pakistan after a gap of four months.
Pakistan are led by Babar Azam, who became the first Pakistani player to feature in 100 T20Is in the first match of the series. The hosts have a strong squad with the likes of Mohammad Rizwan, Shaheen Afridi, Haris Rauf, Fakhar Zaman, and Imad Wasim, who were rested in their previous series against Afghanistan. Pakistan also have a new interim head coach in Grant Bradburn, who replaced Misbah-ul-Haq.
New Zealand are captained by Tom Latham, who is also leading the ODI side for the first time. The visitors are missing their top eight players due to Indian Premier League commitments. However, they still have some experienced players like Martin Guptill, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, and Trent Boult, as well as some promising youngsters like Finn Allen, Rachin Ravindra, and Glenn Phillips.
The series promises to be an exciting contest between two competitive sides, who will look to gain some momentum ahead of the ODI World Cup 2023 in India. Pakistan have an edge over New Zealand in terms of home advantage and recent form. The hosts won their first T20I by a huge margin of 88 runs, thanks to a brilliant bowling performance by Haris Rauf, who took four wickets for 18 runs. New Zealand will look to bounce back in the second T20I on Saturday (April 15).