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New Zealand vs Pakistan, 4th T20I Preview: Can Pakistan Bounce Back Against New Zealand?

The Hagley Oval in Christchurch prepares to witness a pivotal clash as Pakistan, chasing shadows after three consecutive defeats, takes on New Zealand in the fourth T20I of the series. The clock is ticking for the Men in Green, already down 0-3 and desperate to avoid a whitewash before the T20 World Cup looms large on the horizon.

¬†Pakistan’s Woeful Start:

Shaheen Afridi, at the helm of his maiden T20I captaincy stint, hasn’t enjoyed the fairy tale beginning he might have envisioned. The bowlers, entrusted with defending imposing totals in two of the previous games, have coughed up over 200 runs, raising alarms about their consistency and execution. Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan, Pakistan’s batting stalwarts, have shown glimpses of brilliance, but the middle order hasn’t quite found its groove, leaving the team with a fragile batting balance.

New Zealand’s Relentless Pursuit:

Across the crease, the Black Caps have been humming like a well-oiled machine. Finn Allen, the young batting prodigy, has taken the world by storm with his audacious six-hitting exploits, while Glenn Phillips has provided much-needed solidity in the middle order. Tim Southee and Trent Boult, the experienced pace duo, have led the bowling attack with precision and guile, stifling the Pakistani batsmen and restricting their scoring.

Key Battles to Watch:

  • Finn Allen vs Shaheen Shah Afridi: The fiery clash between the fearless batsman and the seasoned fast bowler promises fireworks. Allen’s ability to clear the ropes at will will be tested against Afridi’s swing and pace.
  • Babar Azam vs Mitchell Santner: The battle of the captains, pitting Azam’s elegant strokeplay against Santner’s cunning left-arm spin, will be crucial in dictating the tempo of the match.
  • New Zealand’s Middle Order vs Pakistan’s Spinners: With the Hagley Oval offering some assistance to slower bowlers, the battle between Mitchell Marsh and Daryl Mitchell for New Zealand and Mohammad Nawaz and Shadab Khan for Pakistan could hold the key to controlling the middle overs.

A Flicker of Hope for Pakistan?

Despite the gloomy picture, hope flickers for Pakistan. They bounced back from early hiccups to win the final match of their previous series against Bangladesh, showcasing their fighting spirit. If they can find the missing pieces, tighten their bowling, and execute their plans flawlessly, a win isn’t entirely out of reach.

Pakistan cricket team celebrating

The fourth T20I isn’t just about salvaging pride for Pakistan; it’s about setting the stage for the T20 World Cup and building momentum. Can they regroup, rise to the occasion, and give the Black Caps a run for their money? Tune in on Friday, January 19, at 11.40 AM IST to find out!

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