Pakistan v New Zealand, 1st semi-final, Cape Town September 21, 2007

Soft tops and solid middles

Mathew Varghese
A statistical preview to the first semi-final between New Zealand and Pakistan at Newlands

New Zealand take on Pakistan in the first semi-final of the ICC World Twenty20 in Cape Town. Cricinfo compares how New Zealand and Pakistan have performed in key areas and looks at the stats that matter at Newlands.

Toss

Barring the Group B matches, where Australia and England opted to bat first, the captains have decided to field in the last five matches at Newlands. Only two teams have lost while chasing in Cape Town - Zimbabwe against England who in turn lost to South Africa.

Toss at Newlands
Matches Win toss and field first Matches won fielding first
8 5 6

Pakistan prefer batting second but they have also won the two matches - against Kenya and Sri Lanka - when they were asked to bat first. Daniel Vettori has not been lucky with the toss, losing all three in the Super Eights, but New Zealand won two out of three matches when they were put in to bat.

The first six overs

Pakistan and New Zealand have not capitalised on the fielding restrictions during the first six overs of the innings largely due to the poor form of both their top orders. Pakistan's top three batsmen have managed only 228 runs at an average of 16.28 while New Zealand's scored 270.

First six overs (for batting team)
Team Runs per over Runs per wicket
Pakistan 7.16 21.5
New Zealand 7.2 27

New Zealand's new-ball bowlers, Shane Bond and Mark Gillespie, haven't been too flash either. Exclude the destructive performance against Kenya, and their economy-rate shoots up to over nine, while the average runs conceded per wicket leaps to 72.33.

First six overs (for bowling team)
Team Runs per over Runs per wicket
Pakistan 7.7 21
New Zealand 8.0 34.29

Endgame

Both New Zealand's and Pakistan's middle-order batsmen have had to rebuild the innings after poor starts and the teams have fared better in the final five overs compared to the first six.

Overs 15-20 (for batting team)
Team Runs per over Runs per wicket
Pakistan 9.97 23.1
New Zealand 10.3 13.73

Pakistan have been excellent with the ball during the final overs as well. Umar Gul has been successfully deployed as a death-over specialist and Sohail Tanvir and Mohammad Asif have found the blockhole consistently.

Overs 15-20 (for bowling team)
Team Runs per over Runs per wicket
Pakistan 6.86 10.5
New Zealand 8.98 16.18

Par score

The average run-rate at Newlands has been 7.39 and, taking that as a benchmark, a score of around 150 could provide a challenging chase. The highest total is England's 188 for 9 against Zimbabwe but next best is South Africa's 154 for 8 while their 146 for 3 (in 18.3 overs) is the best for a side chasing.

Pace v Spin

The seamers have been more effective at Newlands and the four Australian pacemen are among the top five highest wicket-takers at the venue.

How well the New Zealand middle order - Scott Styris, Craig McMillan and Jacob Oram - plays the Pakistan spinners - Shahid Afridi, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik - could have an important impact on the outcome of the match. Sanath Jayasuriya, Andrew Symonds and Michael Clarke got rough treatment from the Pakistan batsmen, and it will be a challenge for Vettori, who bagged a four-for against India, to maintain his high standards.

Pace v Spin
Bowling type Wickets taken Bowling average Economy rate
Pace 74 20.42 7.09
Spin 19 33.11 7.66

Power-hitters

A sizable contribution from either Afridi or Malik for Pakistan, and McMillan or Oram for New Zealand to take their team through to the final. With 12 sixes, McMillan leads the list of six-hitters, and is largely responsible for New Zealand clearing the boundary more times than anyone else. Pakistan, however, have hit the most fours in the tournament.

Sixes and fours
Team Sixes hit Sixes conceded Fours hit Fours conceded
New Zealand 35 23 50 66
Pakistan 24 16 76 60

Extras

New Zealand have conceded 33 runs through extras while Pakistan have been comparatively shoddy, giving away 55 with 27 wides.

Key performers

For Pakistan, it's their middle order that has got them this far. Malik, Misbah-ul-Haq and Younis Khan contributed significantly in their victories against Sri Lanka and Australia during the Super Eights.

Malik and Misbah
Player Innings Runs Average Strike-rate
Shoaib Malik 5 161 40.25 130.89
Misbah-ul-Haq 5 159 53.00 157.42

Shahid Afridi has had few opportunities with the bat but he is the tournament's second-highest wicket-taker with 11 wickets, one more than Vettori. Besides Vettori, the other standout performer for New Zealand has been McMillan, with 151 runs at 50.33 and a strike-rate of 179.76.