T20 World Cup 2021: Strongest New Zealand Predicted Playing XI against Pakistan

T20 World Cup 2021: Strongest New Zealand Predicted Playing XI against Pakistan

New Zealand aren't the firm favourites, but they are renowned for punching above their weight all the time.

New Zealand
New Zealand. (Photo Source: Getty Images)

Gone are the days when New Zealand started every ICC tournament as the dark horse. Even though they aren’t an overwhelming favorite this time, their line-up is something that can give everyone a run for their money. Having said that, they would be up against Pakistan in their opening game, who themselves are experiencing an all-time high with a win against India. 

The match will be played at the Sharjah Cricket Ground and there will be some considerations made as far as choosing their line-up is concerned. Under the captaincy of Kane Williamson, New Zealand are a force to reckon with and they would want to start their campaign well after losing the two warm-up games.

Here is the predicted XI of New Zealand against Pakistan:

1. Openers (Martin Guptill and Tim Seifert)

Martin Guptill
Martin Guptill. (Photo by MARTY MELVILLE/AFP via Getty Images)

New Zealand will be confident with one fact going ahead in this tournament and that is their top-order heavy batting. Martin Guptill has not got a big score in recent times but he does have a good record against Pakistan. He is coming into this game on the back of a 41 and a 30 in the two warm-up games. 

Tim Seifert will be the one who gets the wicket-keeping job, most probably, despite players like Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway in the side. He also opened the batting in the second warm-up game after Daryl Mitchell was backed for the first one but the Blackcaps are likely to stick with him. 

2. Middle-order (Kane Williamson, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips)

Devon Conway
New Zealand’s Devon Conway. (Photo by DAVID ROWLAND/AFP via Getty Images)

There were some injury concerns around Kane Williamson but after his appearance in one of the warm-up matches, it seems that the concern isn’t that huge and he would be there in the XI for sure. Devon Conway has batted at no. 3 and also can open the innings but he is likely to be slotted at no. 4, which was the case earlier during the summer of 2020-21. 

He got 32 runs in the two knocks during the warm-ups and he should be back in form when they face Pakistan. Glenn Phillips is a crucial player of this side and would want to bring his A-game into this match. He has been quite excellent in the shortest format, but he would want better results with the bat after the disappointing warm-up games. 

3. All-rounders (Daryl Mitchell, James Neesham, Mitchell Santner)

Daryl Mitchell. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Daryl Mitchell could play a variety of roles in this team with his ability to contribute at the top of the order as well as in the middle order. He is an excellent hitter of the ball and would be one of the players to watch out for. His bowling can also be vital on these tracks, which is something that can be said about James Neesham as well. 

In Neesham and Mitchell, New Zealand just doesn’t have their five bowling options sorted but also two extremely dangerous batters who can turn the game around on its head. Mitchell Santner will be seen mainly as a spinner and would want to bring all the experience he gained while being a part of the Chennai Super Kings triumphant squad recently. 

4. Bowlers (Ish Sodhi, Lockie Ferguson, and Trent Boult)

Lockie Ferguson
Lockie Ferguson. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Ish Sodhi would love to start off this tournament with a solid performance and continue his form. He picked up three wickets in the last warm-up game and had a good time with the ball. Sodhi will be quite vital for the Kiwis in these conditions with the ball, given his experience. He would be backed by two incredible pacers. 

Trent Boult can get some early swing and he would be relying on that for his game. If he can get the ball to talk a bit during the first few overs, we might find the Pakistan batting struggling. Lockie Ferguson had a really good time with the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise in the second half of the IPL 2021 and his team would bank on that.