New Zealand vs Pakistan, 1st T20I – Preview, Playing 11

Revitalized Leadership: Shaheen Afridi Takes Charge

The post-World Cup era hasn’t unfolded as planned for Pakistan in Test cricket down under. However, their T20 performance provides a silver lining. After an impressive journey in the 2021 T20 World Cup, culminating in the semifinals, the team went a step further in 2022. Now, with a change in leadership following a disappointing ODI World Cup, excitement looms large as Shaheen Afridi steps up.

A New Era: Shaheen Afridi and His Deputies

Renowned as one of the world’s leading fast bowlers, Shaheen Afridi has successfully captained his PSL side to back-to-back titles. This achievement has earned him the coveted opportunity to lead the national T20 side, with Mohammad Rizwan as his deputy. This strategic move allows Babar Azam to focus entirely on his game, adding depth to the team’s batting lineup.

Testing the Waters: Unleashing Inexperienced Talent

The series against New Zealand presents an excellent chance for Pakistan to evaluate and refine their squad. Players like Saim Ayub and Aamer Jamal, although relatively new to international cricket, showcase promising potential. Saim Ayub, despite a modest start, has left a mark in the CPL, while Aamer Jamal’s impressive Test performance in Australia sets the stage for a potential T20 debut.

Bowling Powerhouse: Haris Rauf’s Return and Zaman Khan’s Threat

With the return of Haris Rauf, Pakistan’s bowling department gains strength. Zaman Khan, who left an indelible mark in the BBL, poses a significant threat. Having impressed with eight wickets in just four games, Zaman is ready to make his mark against New Zealand, a team that faced his prowess last year.

Facing the Kiwi Challenge: New Zealand’s Scrappy Form and Kane Williamson’s Return

New Zealand, coming off a scrappy series against Bangladesh, faces a tougher challenge against a resurgent Pakistan. Kane Williamson’s return to the T20 scene after a year adds an intriguing dimension to the match. Given Pakistan’s strength in this format, the hosts will undoubtedly have their task cut out.

Matchday Details: When, Where, and What to Expect

When: January 12, 2024, at 12:40 PM IST, 7:10 PM local time

Where: Eden Park, Auckland

What to Expect: The last T20I at Eden Park witnessed a high-scoring tie, but the venue has also seen teams being bowled out for paltry scores. Clear skies are anticipated on match day, setting the stage for an exciting encounter.

New Zealand vs Pakistan: Probable XIs and Squad Highlights

New Zealand

The spotlight is on Matt Henry’s return after his mid-Odi World Cup injury. Devon Conway, returning after being rested for the Bangladesh series, is expected to reclaim his spot.

Probable XI: Devon Conway (wk), Finn Allen, Kane Williamson (C), Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Adam Milne


Under the new captaincy of Shaheen Afridi, Pakistan brings a blend of experience and youthful exuberance. The focus will be on the inexperienced players, with Saim Ayub and Aamer Jamal likely to play pivotal roles.

Probable XI: Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Azam Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Aamer Jamal, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi (C), Haris Rauf, Usama Mir, Zaman Khan/Mohammad Wasim Jr

  • Squads:
    • Pakistan Squad: Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Saim Ayub, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan, Aamer Jamal, Mohammad Nawaz, Shaheen Afridi (c), Haris Rauf, Zaman Khan, Usama Mir, Mohammad Wasim Jr, Abrar Ahmed, Sahibzada Farhan, Abbas Afridi, Haseebullah Khan
    • New Zealand Squad: Devon Conway, Finn Allen, Kane Williamson (c), Mark Chapman, Glenn Phillips, Daryl Mitchell, Tim Seifert (wk), Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Matt Henry, Adam Milne, Ben Sears

With anticipation building, Pakistan faces New Zealand in a crucial T20 encounter at Eden Park, Auckland. As the Shaheen Afridi-led side gears up for a new chapter, cricket enthusiasts eagerly await the unfolding drama on the pitch.

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