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1st T20I preview: New Zealand will square off against Pakistan in the first T20I of the three-match series at Eden Park in Auckland on Friday.
Babar Azam and Kane Williamson, the skipper of Pakistan and New Zealand respectively, will not feature for their sides. Babar was ruled out of the T20I series after fracturing his thumb, while Williamson is on paternity leave.
All-rounder Shadab Khan will lead the visitors' side in Babar's absence while spinner Mitchell Santner will serve as the captain for the hosts. For the Kiwis, Trent Boult, Tim Southee, and Kyle Jamieson have been rested for the opening contest while Lockie Ferguson will miss out due to injury.
Pakistan had a tough few weeks in the build-up to the T20Is after a few of their players tested positive for COVID-19. And in the absence of Babar and Imam-ul-Haq, the visitors could have a tough time on the fast and bouncy tracks of New Zealand.
The Black Caps, on the other hand, will be pumped up for they whitewashed West Indies in the Test series, and given their home advantage.
New Zealand: Mitchell Santner (Captain), Tim Seifert (Wicket-keeper), Martin Guptill, Devon Conway, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, James Neesham, Scott Kuggelejin, Doug Bracewell, Todd Astle, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner, Jacob Duffy,
Pakistan: Shadab Khan (Captain), Mohammad Rizwan (Wicket-keeper), Abdullah Shafique, Haider Ali, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hafeez, Imad Wasim, Usman Qadir, Wahab Riaz, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Hussain Talat, Faheem Ashraf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Muhammad Musa.
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The Kiwis posted a formidable 185/5 batting first before their premier bowlers combined to limit the Caribbean side to 172/7 in reply.
India and Pakistan will open their Asia Cup 2022 campaign against each other on 28th August at Dubai International Stadium in UAE.
Rohit recently overtook Guptill as the leading run-scorer after scoring 64 in the first T20I against West Indies and had maintained the lead throughout the series.