Pakistan aim for win in weather-threatened 2nd T20I against New Zealand

Lahore   -  Pakistan are poised to clash with New Zealand in the second T20 International at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday at 7:00 PM. After a damp squib in the series opener, where rain allowed only two deliveries, both teams are optimistic about a full encounter despite lingering weather concerns.

Under the leadership of Babar Azam, Pakistan’s top order will likely see Saim Ayub opening alongside the captain. Mohammad Rizwan is set to continue his role at number three, bringing his reliable batting prowess to the fore. The middle order looks robust with the inclusion of Usman Khan and Muhammad Irfan Khan, blending stability with aggressive batting.The all-round skills of Iftikhar Ahmed and Shadab Khan will enhance the team’s flexibility, offering valuable options with both bat and ball.  Pakistan’s bowling attack will be led by the pace trio of Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, and a rejuvenated Mohammad Amir, marking his notable return to international cricket after a four-year break. The spin department will feature Abrar Ahmed, whose variations could be pivotal against the Kiwi batsmen.

Despite the cancellation of their pre-match training session due to adverse weather, New Zealand, led by Michael Bracewell, remains ready to tackle the challenges posed by a strong Pakistan side. The squad includes experienced campaigners like Jimmy Neesham and promising talents such as Tim Seifert, ensuring a blend of youth and experience in their ranks.

Weather and Match Prospects

While the forecast suggests a possibility of rain, both teams and fans are hopeful that weather disruptions will be minimal, allowing for an uninterrupted game. The stakes are high as both teams look to gain an early advantage in this five-match T20 series.

Amir’s Comeback and Expectations

Mohammad Amir’s return has been one of the focal points leading up to the match. In a recent statement, Amir said: “Returning to play for your country after nearly four years feels completely surreal. It’s as if I am making my debut all over again,” Amir remarked.

He acknowledged the PCB and Shaheen Shah Afridi for their pivotal roles in his return to international cricket. “I owe a great deal of gratitude to the PCB, team management, and Shaheen for their faith in me, which naturally brings a significant amount of pressure to perform up to their expectations,” he added.   Reflecting on his illustrious career, Amir recalled his debut year in 2009, which coincided with Pakistan’s triumph at the T20 World Cup, and the victorious 2017 Champions Trophy campaign. “The PCB and team management have reinstated me with a specific short-term objective in mind – the upcoming World Cup. Given that Pakistan reached the semifinals in 2021 and the finals in 2022, the ultimate goal is to clinch the title. Achieving this would be a monumental accomplishment for me, solidifying my role in helping the team finally cross the finish line,” Amir concluded.


PAKISTAN: Babar Azam (captain), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, Zaman Khan.
NEW ZEALAND: Michael Bracewell (captain), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Zak Foulkes.

Azhar Khan is an accomplished senior sports journalist with extensive experience in the field. He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @azharmasood786

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