The 33rd match of the 2019 Cricket World Cup will witness New Zealand taking on Pakistan. The Blackcaps are currently topping the table, yet to lose a single game. In contrast, Pakistan are at seventh, having won two and lost three.
This is going to be an intriguing clash of two deadly bowling attacks. The likes of Trent Boult, Mohammad Amir, Lockie Ferguson and more are capable of blowing away the best of batting lineups.
New Zealand, the perennial dark horses, always punch above their weight in ICC events as witnessed by their six World Cup semifinal appearances.
Pakistan has been hot and cold in this tournament. They were blown away by the short ball barrage of the West Indies but showed their unpredictable nature in beating the title favorites England in their very next match. On their day, they can defeat anyone but those days are few and far between.
New Zealand (Probable XI): Martin Guptill, Colin Munro, Kane Williamson (C), Ross Taylor, Tom Latham (WK), James Neesham, Colin de Grandhomme, Mitchell Santner, Matthew Henry, Lockie Ferguson, Trent Boult.
Pakistan (Probable XI): Imam ul Haq, Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed (C&WK), Asif Ali, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi, Shahdab Khan, Mohammad Amir.
Kane Williamson vs. Mohammad Amir
Williamson, is an astute leader and leads from the front with his calm and composed batting. Ranked 13th in the ICC ODI batting rankings, he averages 48.2 in 144 matches so far in his career.
The 28-year-old’s batting has been top notch. He has been one of the most consistent performers in this tournament. He has also set the record for scoring the highest number of runs (333) between two dismissals in the World Cups.
Mohammad Amir burst onto the cricketing scene at a tender age of 17 and was considered as a once in a lifetime bowler by experts. Even Wasim Akram, his idol remarked that Amir is a far better bowler than he was at that age.
After coming back from the spot-fixing ban induced hiatus, he has not been his usual self. He, however, is looking quite potent in this World Cup which is evident by the 15 wickets he has taken. Amir currently sits atop the highest wickets table at this tournament.
He is a big match player as evident by his match winning spell in the 2017 Champions Trophy final against India. He has taken 75 wickets in 55 matches with a strike rate of 36.6 in ODIs.
This battle between two of the best this World Cup has to offer is one of the most awaited. If Amir gets through Williamson, Pakistan will feel half the work is done.
Lockie Ferguson vs. Babar Azam
Ferguson is one of the rare breeds of fast bowlers who consistently bowls in the 150 km/hr range. He has been New Zealand’s enforcer in the middle overs in this World Cup. With his pace and trickery, he is tough to contend with for any batsman. He also has been able to break partnerships and is one of the major performers in New Zealand’s undefeated run.
The 28-year-old has been the highest wicket taker for New Zealand in this World Cup with 14 wickets in five matches. He has taken 60 wickets in 32 matches with a strike rate of 27.9 in his ODI career so far.
Babar Azam was a child prodigy who was always destined to play for Pakistan. He has scored a bucket loads of runs especially in the white ball formats. Azam is the mainstay of Pakistan’s middle-order and his style of play is for those who enjoy the aesthetics.
He is ranked eighth in the ICC ODI batsmen rankings. He has scored 2971 runs at an astounding average of 51.22 in 69 One day internationals.
The Pakistan number three does his most impactful work in the middle overs and the onus will be on Ferguson to not let it happen.
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Edgbaston is considered a sporting wicket with true bounce which both the batsmen and bowlers will enjoy. This is going to be a battle of two very good bowling attacks and the team whose batting will stick on for longer, holds the advantage.
New Zealand is playing out of their skin in this tournament and we never know which Pakistan turns up for this match, given their unpredictability.
The match is going to be well fought but New Zealand will edge ahead in playing the crucial moments of the game. We at Cricwizz predict a well-fought New Zealand victory.
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