Venue – Hagley Oval, Christchurch
Date: Friday, October 14
By The Numbers
The expectation in this series was always that New Zealand and Pakistan would meet in the final. Bangladesh has been abject in the T20 area as of late, while Pakistan and New Zealand both have their eyes on long runs in the forthcoming T20 World Cup. Both finished with six points in the table from three wins and one defeat. They both beat Bangladesh (soundly) twice, then split their two matches against each other. While the goal is still the World Cup, you can bet that both countries really want to win this final to draw a line in the sand regarding their form.
It is worth noting that in the two matches that Pakistan and New Zealand have contested in Christchurch, it has been the team batting second that has won. In both cases, the team winning the toss elected to bat, and in both cases, that decision backfired. In Match 2 of the tri-series, New Zealand batted and reached 147/8. Babar Azam – one of the players to watch in the World Cup – hit an unbeaten 79 as Pakistan tracked down that score in the 18th over.
In Match 4, it was Pakistan’s turn to win the toss and decide to bat. They were only able to make 130/7 from their 20 overs – Michael Bracewell bowling a very economical 2/11 from his four overs – giving New Zealand an achievable target. Finn Allen top scored with 62 as they reached the total with plenty of balls to spare.
It will be interesting to see what the decision is no matter which team wins the toss on Friday.
I would expect regular captain Kane Williamson to be back in the lineup for this one, as he was rested for the victory over Bangladesh. This means that Tim Southee will go back to his vice-captain role. Adam Milne is also expected to do more work as he continues to prove his fitness ahead of the World Cup. He returned from an abdominal strain in the last match, and a contest against tougher opposition is important for his match readiness. The batting of Glenn Phillips, Devon Conway, and Finn Allen will continue to be important for the Black Caps moving forward.
Pakistan beat New Zealand in the first match between the two sides by being the more aggressive team. Their bowling attack got on top early – only Mark Chapman provided much resistance – and their batting was timely and clever. The issue with this team has been the middle-order batting this year. The openers are as good as any in the world, and the bowling attack is special on its day. Players like Mohammad Nawaz and Asif Ali have been better in this tournament, but Pakistan supporters will want to see them, along with Shan Masood, put in one more shift here.
These two were both factors in the 2021 T20 World Cup. New Zealand lost in the final to Australia, while Pakistan made it to the semi-final stage. Much is expected of both again in Australia. Chasing has been the way to go in this series, so much will hinge on the outcome of the toss. The settled nature of the New Zealand side and their overall confidence make them the team I would pick before the toss.