New Zealand v Pakistan, Champions Trophy, 2nd semi-final October 2, 2009

New Zealand up against bogey opponent

Stats preview to the Champions Trophy semi-final between New Zealand and Pakistan in Johannesburg

New Zealand topped their group while Pakistan finished second in theirs, but Pakistan will go in as favourites in their semi-final clash in Johannesburg on Saturday. A couple of factors make New Zealand the underdogs - the loss of key players (Jesse Ryder, Jacob Oram and Daryl Tuffey are all out), and their poor record against Pakistan, especially in semi-finals.

Overall, Pakistan have a comfortable 47-29 advantage in ODIs, which increases to 18-6 when they've clashed in neutral venues (in South Africa, Pakistan have a 2-0 lead, though they've not met in this country since December 1994). Of the nine occasions when Pakistan have played New Zealand in world events (World Cup and Champions Trophy), they've won six. Moreover, no team has stopped New Zealand in the semi-finals as often as Pakistan have: of the 12 semis that New Zealand have contested in ODI tournaments, they've played Pakistan in half of those matches, and lost on all occasions except one.

That one victory, though, came in the 2000 edition of the Champions Trophy, when New Zealand beat Pakistan in the semi-finals and then went on to win the final as well. In fact, their Champions Trophy record against Pakistan should cheer Daniel Vettori and Co: the two teams have met twice, and New Zealand have won both games.

ODIs between Pakistan and New Zealand
Venue/ Tournament ODIs Pak won NZ won Tied/ NR
in Pakistan 20 17 3 0/ 0
in New Zealand 34 12 20 1/ 1
Neutral venues 24 18 6 0/ 0
World Cup/ Champs Trophy 9 6 3 0/ 0
Tournament semi-finals 6 5 1 0/ 0

Pakistan's varied bowling attack has troubled all the teams in the tournament so far. They've taken 28 wickets, the most by any team till the end of the group stage of the tournament. Their bowling average (20.96) and economy rate (4.53) are the best in the tournament too, which suggests that Ross Taylor and Co will have quite a job on their hands.

New Zealand have pretty impressive stats too, though - they've taken 25 wickets at less than five per over, and their pace attack has enjoyed the conditions in Johannesburg.

New Zealand and Pakistan in the 2009 Champions Trophy
Team Runs Bat ave Run rate Wkts Bowl ave Econ rate
New Zealand 676 29.39 5.40 25 25.60 4.88
Pakistan 641 32.05 4.91 28 20.96 4.53

Where New Zealand have done much better than Pakistan so far is in utilising the Powerplay overs when they've batted. In the first ten overs they've averaged nearly a run a ball, and have lost only one wicket in three matches (they scored 76 and 66 without losing a wicket in the first ten overs against Sri Lanka and England). Brendon McCullum, with scores of 44, 46 and 48,has led the charge each time, while Martin Guptill has been in fine form as well.

Pakistan have started far more slowly, and they've also lost plenty of wickets in the batting Powerplay (eight in ten overs in two games - they didn't take it against West Indies).

How the teams fared with the bat in the Powerplays
Team Type of Powerplay Runs per wkt Runs per over
New Zealand Mandatory 178.00 5.93
  Fielding 60.00 6.00
  Batting 21.17 8.47
Pakistan Mandatory 26.60 4.43
  Fielding 31.00 4.13
  Batting 9.00 7.20

During the bowling Powerplays, though, Pakistan have come into their own, stopping the batting team with a slew of wickets - five in the mandatory and batting Powerplays, and six in the bowling one. New Zealand have had most of their success during the mandatory Powerplay, taking six wickets; during the batting one they haven't taken any.

How the teams fared with the ball in the Powerplays
Team Type of Powerplay Runs per wkt Runs per over
New Zealand Mandatory 22.83 4.57
  Fielding 59.00 3.93
  Batting - 7.40
Pakistan Mandatory 29.20 4.87
  Fielding 12.50 5.00
  Batting 14.40 5.21

New Zealand have also had more experience of playing in Johannesburg. They've won both their games there - against Sri Lanka and England - while Pakistan won the only time they played at the venue, against West Indies. All four day-night games there have been won by the team fielding first, and each match has been punctuated by early wickets - the 10-over scores of the team batting first in these matches were 31 for 3 (West Indies v Pakistan), 43 for 4 (Sri Lanka v England), 23 for 3 (England v New Zealand) and 30 for 3 (West Indies v India). Going by these numbers, the toss could have a huge role in deciding which team makes the final.

S Rajesh is stats editor of Cricinfo