Shaheen flies high in must-win New Zealand clash

Thursday, 27 Jun, 2019

Pakistan are now sitting at seventh position in the points table with five points in six games.

New Zealand, unbeaten in their first six games of the tournament, struggled after deciding to bat first, recovering from 83/5 to post a modest 237/6 thanks to an unbeaten 97 from Jimmy Neesham and 64 from Colin de Grandhomme. "All three matches now are very crucial and we have to sort it out", Sarfaraz told the reporters ahead of their clash against New Zealand.

Just last week the top four places looked set but qualification could now go to the wire.

Unbeaten New Zealand will take on an unpredictable Pakistan side in the 33rd match of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 at Edgbaston, Birmingham on Wednesday.

The Kiwis are now at the top of the table with 11 points from six matches, with captain Kane Williamson winning plaudits for racking up 373 runs at an average of 186.50.

Punters can get 6/5 for the Falcons to keep their semi-final prospects alive and that is our initial New Zealand vs Pakistan prediction.

"The wicket was hard and turned a lot in the second half", said the flamboyant batsman in the post-match ceremony as he received cheers from the crowd. Pakistan have done what Pakistan do best - they have fluttered between being indifferent and being spectacular.

For New Zealand defeat won't be terminal and a playoff berth is still nearly certain, but their runaway momentum stalled a touch and victory against either Australia or England will be required to restore confidence after a dream start to the campaign.

When asked if Pakistan - who bounced back on Sunday after a demoralising defeat from India and kicked South Africa out of the tournament - could make it to the World Cup semifinals, Ahmed said: "Pakistan can do anything".

New Zealand's decision to play only one frontline spinner eventually backfired, as with a low score to defend the pacers were much easier to work around, and with lesser risks. While for Pakistan, Mohammad Amir, Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan are the top picks.

An exceptional spell from Shaheen then put Pakistan in the driving seat as Munro edged to first slip and Taylor and Latham both edged the 19-year-old pace bowler behind to wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed. Their poor form has made the case for Hasnain's inclusion even stronger. It took a superb legspinner's delivery from Shadab Khan to remove him and New Zealand were 83-5 in the 27th.

Previous encounter: Pakistan beat New Zealand by 6 wickets at Abu Dhabi on 9th Nov 2018. We knew 240 wasn't an easy target so our message to the batsmen was to bat for 50 overs. The foundation of the six-wicket win was laid by Babar, who first paired up with Hafeez for a half-century stand and later with Sohail in a 126-run partnership.

Former king of swing, Waseem Akram was the second most successful captain of Pakistan in ODI s against Kiwis as he inspired the team to victory in the nine matches, out of the total twelve. If they wish to proceed further in this tournament, they will have to pull up their socks in the fielding department.