About the Match
The Kiwis were perceived to be better contenders than Australia, but the way Pakistan have played them out has been commendable. New Zealand will have a clear goal in front of them when they take out the field in the 3rd T20I at Dubai on 4th October - to get back to the winning ways and redeem their lost pride. Kiwis have displayed glimpses of individual brilliance on many occasions in this series and a team effort is what they'll need in the upcoming contest.
The bowlers have done exceedingly well for Pakistan with the likes of Shadab Khan and Imad Wasim keeping things tight in the middle overs. The tall lanky fast bowler, Shaheen Afridi, has been brilliant both in the powerplay and at the death and almost every batsman have found him to be difficult to hit.
The return of Fakhar Zaman was a welcome change for their batting lineup which appeared to be a little wobbly in his absence. Mohammad Hafeez's return to the national setup has been nothing short of a fairy-tale. He's influenced the results of both T20 games after scoring a hundred in the test series against Australia. Although Pakistan have won the series and the management might be tempted to test their bench strength, they're unlikely to tinker with the combination which has yielded terrific results for them in the recent past.
The decision to persist with Shaheen Afridi instead of Usman Khan as the second seam bowler has paid off for Pakistan which means he is likely to feature in the playing eleven for this game. Imad Wasim and Shadab Khan will continue as the spin bowling pair while Hasan Ali and Faheem Ashraf will be the other two options in the pace department apart from Afridi.
PAK Key Players
Babar Azam and Mohammad Hafeez seem to be Pakistan's best bets with the bat at the moment. While the former is the world's best batsman in T20Is and has been hitting top form of late, the latter had a good outing in the first game of the series where he rescued his side with a valuable 45. Shoaib Malik, the leading run-getter for Pakistan in this format, is the key man in the middle order. Shadab Khan is second in the ICC T20I bowling rankings and he is going to pose the biggest threat to the New Zealand batsmen. His spin partner Imad Wasim too has been impressive in the past few matches and the pitch at Dubai will suit his style of bowling. Hasan Ali, however, remains a top candidate for providing the early breakthroughs with the new ball.
PAK Recent Form
Pakistan are looking unstoppable in the T20 format and they boast a very high win percentage this year. Since their 1-2 series loss to New Zealand in New Zealand in January 2016, the hosts have not faced a single series defeat be it at home or away. Pakistan came into this series on the back of a 3-0 clean sweep over Australia.
ew Zealand are unlikely to take a gamble by bringing in allrounder Seth Rance at the expense of a seasoned campaigner in Colin de Grandhomme or Corey Anderson. So we expect them to go into this final T20 international with an unchanged line-up. None of their players were reported to be injured ahead of this game.
NZ Key Players
Colin Munro, Kane Williamson and Ross Taylor are the big guns in this New Zealand batting line-up. Munro has been the team's most successful batsman in T20Is in recent times and he will look to put in a similar performance from the opening game at Abu Dhabi. Williamson and Taylor are unarguably their best players of spin and it will be crucial that at least one of them goes on to anchor the innings till the end. In terms of bowling, New Zealand's biggest hopes are Ish Sodhi, Adam Milne and Tim Southee. Sodhi is currently their best bowler in the shortest format and he is more likely to trouble the Pakistani batsmen with his leg-spin on a pitch that is expected to assist the spinners more. Milne did a fine job in the opening game and the team will also hope for a strong performance from their veteran pacer Southee.
NZ Recent Form
New Zealand have been lacking consistency in their performance when it comes to the twenty-over format. They have mostly played their T20Is at home this year and have lost far more matches than they have won. The Kiwis lost to Australia in the final of the Trans-Tasman Twenty20 Tri-series before losing the opening game of the ongoing series against Pakistan by two runs.
Pakistan have been in ominous form in T20 cricket and teams from outside the sub-continent have found it very difficult to beat them in the UAE where the conditions tend to favor their bowlers more. For New Zealand to have any chance of a win, they must put in a strong batting performance and pick up the key wickets of Babar Azam and Shoaib Malik early on. But the spinners from the home team will probably build pressure on the Kiwis in the middle overs once again and dash their hopes. The visitors may come up with a strong fight, but we don't see them beating the hosts in this match
FINAL : New Zealand to win the match @2.20
The side batting first at the Dubai International Cricket Stadium has won more often in recent times than the side bowling first. Since the wicket at this ground tends to favor the bowlers more during the second period of play, the toss-winning captain may be tempted to bat firs