Pakistan face a new opponent in New Zealand from tomorrow in UAE as both sides are all set to feature in a 3 match T20 series before they meet again for a similar number of One Day Internationals and Test matches. So, here is a look at 3 reasons why New Zealand are likely to be tougher opponents than Australia for Pakistan.
1. Not Carrying Excess Baggage
Australia arrived in UAE following the Newlands ball-tampering controversy. Hence, they were without key senior players like Steve Smith and David Warner on one hand and from a psychological perspective were carrying excess baggage on the other.
There is no such thing in case of the Kiwis who will have come to play following a decent break and therefore, are likely to be much more hungry than the Kangaroos.
2. Better UAE Record
New Zealand particularly, during the last five years or so have performed better than their neighbors Australia in UAE. Thus, unlike the Aussie boys, they have acclimatized better in UAE conditions and thus, are expected to be more competitive than Australia.
3. Better Bowling Options
New Zealand have got decent spinners in IS Sodhi and Mitchell Santner, both of whom are expected to play a pivotal role in UAE conditions. Moreover, their fast bowlers i.e. Tim Southee, Colin de Grandhomme, Adam Milne and Seth Rance are all capable of bowling decently both during the start and end of an innings.
So, even though Pakistan start off as favorites and despite the green shirts being familiar with UAE conditions, New Zealand still can’t be taken lightly and they will be a handful particularly if they manage to expose Pakistan’s vulnerable batting line early in given innings.