New Zealand aim to clinch series
Match FactsDecember 28, Hamilton
Start time 19.00 (06.00 GMT)
The Big Picture
A solitary Twenty20 victory is a fickle indicator of a team's form. A win today could be followed by comprehensive defeat tomorrow; such are the vagaries of the format. So New Zealand will not have over-celebrated their success in the opening game against Pakistan, but they will have savoured it. Their five-wicket victory ended a drought that comprised 11 ODIs and three Tests and stretched back to August. The aim will be to clinch the series with another win at Seddon Park.
The result, in the first match of John Wright's tenure as New Zealand coach, was set up by two performances: a five-for from Tim Southee and a blitz from Martin Guptill, who capitalised on the Lilliputian boundaries in Auckland. It was an impressive showing, especially since New Zealand's best cricketers - Daniel Vettori and Brendon McCullum - were missing from the contest. The responsibility will be on Ross Taylor once again to lead New Zealand against an opponent that is unpredictable.
Pakistan's hit-or-miss side were one of the semi-finalists in the World Twenty20 in May but they are presently on a five-match losing streak, which began during their controversy-ridden tour of England during the summer. They are trialing their captain Shahid Afridi at the top of the order again. The first game against New Zealand was only the third time he's opened in Twenty20 internationals and the outcome was an aggressive 20. The batting remains Pakistan's weakness, while their varied bowling attack, comprising bowlers capable of extreme pace, reverse swing, off and legspin, is their strength. They were undone by the unusual dimensions of Eden Park, and should be more effective in Hamilton.
(most recent first)
New Zealand: WLWLW
Watch out for...
Shahid Afridi and Umar Akmal are often targeted as the danger men in Pakistan's batting line-up but Abdul Razzaq is arguably the most devastating of the lot. He's played several match-winning innings in ODIs and Twenty20s this year and he only needs a couple of overs at full throttle to flatten the opposition.
Adam Milne leaked 0 for 46 in four overs in Auckland, but he's not yet 19 and hit speeds of 148kph. New Zealand see him as one to nurture for the future and he is expected to get another go at Pakistan's batsmen at Seddon Park.
New Zealand are unlikely to change a successful combination, unless they want to give left-arm spinner Luke Woodcock a chance.
New Zealand (probable): 1 Jesse Ryder, 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Dean Brownlie, 4 Scott Styris, 5 Ross Taylor (capt), 6 James Franklin, 7 Peter McGlashan (wk), 8 Nathan McCullum, 9 Kyle Mills, 10 Tim Southee, 11 Adam Milne.
Pakistan (probable): 1 Mohammad Hafeez, 2 Shahid Afridi (capt), 3 Ahmed Shahzad, 4 Younis Khan, 5 Fawad Alam, 6 Umar Akmal, 7 Abdul Razzaq, 8 Umar Gul, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Shoaib Akhtar.
Stats and trivia
- Before the first game of the series, Afridi's only Twenty20 innings as opener were against Bangladesh in September 2007 and against Zimbabwe in October 2008. He made 39 and 5 in those games.
- New Zealand have played only two Twenty20 internationals at Seddon Park. Jesse Ryder made 62 in his only match there, against West Indies in 2008.
"I feel the guys got out to some bad shots as well. There's a lot to work on but we will play differently in the next game."
Shahid Afridi looks ahead to the second game.
"Even though he was getting a bit of tap around the field, he still kept a level head and he's got a big future. It's a real asset to a team if you can throw the ball to a guy who can run in and bowl as quickly as he did."
Adam Milne has Daniel Vettori' backing.
George Binoy is an assistant editor at Cricinfo