Pakistan and New Zealand fight to stay alive
Match FactsSaturday, May 8, Bridgetown
Start time 0930 (1330 GMT)
The Big Picture
Both New Zealand and Pakistan were out-played in their opening Super Eight games and the loser of this match will almost certainly be heading for the exit. Pakistan, the defending champions, have the most reasons to worry after an unconvincing opening week in which they lost twice and only managed to beat Bangladesh.
They began the Super Eights with a six-wicket defeat by England after their batsmen posted 147. Two losses in a row would weigh down most teams but with Pakistan there is always the chance of a magical follow-up. Their first goal is to fix some sloppy fielding - five catches were dropped against England - and then to find a batsman who can blast a rapid half-century to take them to a score of 170-plus.
New Zealand started the tournament with two wins to top their group, but life became harder against South Africa and their chase fell 13 runs short. Their bowling is a problem and Daniel Vettori wants it fixed.
"We have to improve on that pretty quickly, going into two must-win games now," he said. Teams cannot afford back-to-back slip-ups at this stage and this match will help determine whether New Zealand reach their almost traditional semi-final spot at a major tournament.
Form guide (most recent first)New Zealand LWWTL
Watch out for...
It's been a quiet event for Brendon McCullum, who in his prime could claim to be the game's most destructive hitter. McCullum has not even managed a six in the first three matches while registering 0, 22 not out and 6. He is such a crucial man for New Zealand that the mini-slump must end if the team is to progress any further.
Umar Akmal has made some bright contributions in his two chances and will look to provide sustained punch on Saturday. Akmal, who has batted at No.4 in the past two games, picked up 30 off 25 balls against England to follow his 18 from 14 against Australia. If he gets a long stay he will be brutal.
With Vettori's problems with the bowling, New Zealand may consider bringing in Kyle Mills for Tim Southee. Southee was taken for three sixes in an over by Albie Morkel as his 120-125kph medium pacers went for 39 in three overs. While Southee's yorkers are usually valuable at the end of the innings, the side might prefer the extra experience of Mills. The coach Mark Greatbatch said they would consider one or two changes.
New Zealand (possible) 1 Brendon McCullum, 2 Jesse Ryder, 3 Martin Guptill, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Scott Styris, 6 Gareth Hopkins (wk), 7 Jacob Oram, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Nathan McCullum, 10 Kyle Mills, 11 Shane Bond.
Pakistan have Mohammad Sami in the squad if they want to re-jig their fast-bowling attack again. Mohammad Asif came in against England and went for 43 off fours overs, having replaced Sami. Some effective support for Mohammad Aamer would be extremely useful.
Pakistan (probable) 1 Salman Butt, 2 Kamran Akmal (wk), 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Umar Akmal, 5 Shahid Afridi (capt), 6 Misbah-ul-Haq, 7 Abdul Razzaq, 8 Fawad Alam, 9 Mohammad Aamer, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Mohammad Asif.
Pitch and conditions
Faster bowlers have had some encouragement at Kensington Oval so look for a crucial battle between Shane Bond and Mohammad Aamer. "It's certainly not a quick wicket, it's still suited to us," Vettori said. Still, the surface is a lot sprightlier than the ones they encountered in Guyana. The forecast for Saturday is scattered showers and a top of 31C.
Stats and trivia
- New Zealand have played Pakistan four times in Twenty20s and never beaten them. The closest they came was a seven-run defeat in Dubai in November
- Salman Butt is Pakistan's leading run-scorer in the event with 122 while New Zealand's best is Jesse Ryder with 77
- Jacob Oram and Nathan McCullum have tournament strike-rates in the 180s after some short but brutal displays
Quotes"It's the nature of the format that your four overs can be brilliant one day and pretty tough the next and we are hoping for a quick turnaround from some of the guys' performances."
Daniel Vettori calls for an improved bowling effort
"We missed our opportunities [against England] and you can't afford to miss opportunities. We are working hard but right now I don't know why we are missing opportunities."
Shahid Afridi has a lot to think about
Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.