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ICC World Cup 2019: Match 33, New Zealand vs Pakistan, Preview – Men in Green eager to replicate 92 heroics; Kiwis a win away from semis

Back in 1992, when the format was the same, Pakistan were the only side to defeat New Zealand in the whole tournament.

New Zealand
New Zealand. (Photo Source: Twitter)

Back in the 1992 World Cup, where New Zealand had an amazing run under the leadership of the immortal Martin Crowe, Pakistan were the only team to have beaten them in the whole tournament. They did it twice, once in the group stages and the second time in the semi-finals, where a certain youngster named Inzamam-ul-Haq played one of the finest knocks by a Pakistani ever.

Fast forward 2019, the format is the same, New Zealand very similarly are on an unbeaten run and the mother of all coincidences, Pakistan’s first six results are exactly identical to their first six results back in 1992. The Asian side held the advantage back then and managed to win the World Cup banking on their incredible results and a lot of signs suggest something similar could happen.

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But one has to accept, this is a much better and stronger Kiwi side than they had back in the day. Kane Williamson has been staggering form and his bowlers are backing him up brilliantly. Pakistan are coming into this fixture on the back of an amazing result against South Africa, so this should lineup for a sensational contest.

Playing Combinations

New Zealand

Colin Munro’s struggle could come to an end with Henry Nicholls replacing him in the XI. Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor have to take the chunk of the responsibility once again with Tom Latham due a big score. Jimmy Neesham, Mitch Santner and Colin de Grandhomme provide three solid all-round options for Williamson. Despite having a poor outing, Matt Henry will continue alongside Lockie Ferguson and Trent Boult.

Probable XI

Henry Nicholls, Martin Guptill, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (wk), Jimmy Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matt Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult

Pakistan

No changes are expected from the Pakistani contingent. Babar Azam has registered some half-centuries but needs a ton to consolidate his reputation. Haris Sohail straight away made a strong case for himself and it will be impossible to drop him. Mohammad Amir and Wahab Riaz were outstanding with the ball against South Africa and much to their delight, Shadab Khan too found some form. Shaheen Afridi will continue in the XI.

Which team is expected to win the match? – Follow CricTracker’s Match Prediction.

Probable XI

Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Mohammad Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C & wk), Imad Wasim, Wahab Riaz, Shadab Khan, Mohammad Amir, Shaheen Afridi

Focus will be on

Trent Boult (New Zealand)

The Pakistani top order, if they’re given some free space, they will last out hard. Trent Boult has to ensure he keeps them under pressure and provides no freebies to get away. Despite being a left-arm speedster, he loves bowling to the left-handers and will give Fakhar Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq a tough time in the middle.

Shadab Khan (Pakistan)

An outstanding prospect for Pakistani cricket, Shadab Khan is a quality spinner and needed one good performance to find his groove. He spun a web against South Africa and considering the New Zealand middle order hasn’t been performing that well apart from Taylor and Williamson, he will pose a serious challenge in the middle overs and could induce a mistake or two.

Head to head

Matches played – 106 | Pakistan won – 54 | New Zealand – 48 | Tied – 1 | No Result – 3

Stat Attack

186.50 – Kane Williamson has the best batting average this tournament.

Broadcast Details

TV – Star Sports

Online– Hotstar

Match Timings – 3:00 PM IST; 10:30 local

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