Inconsistent Pakistan Need Win Over Black Caps to Stay Alive

Inconsistent Pakistan Need Win Over Black Caps to Stay Alive”

Their batting line-up too lacked spark before left-handed batsman Haris Sohail, who was dropped after the opening game, made a strong comeback with a 59-ball 89 to help Pakistan post a challenging 308 for 7 against South Africa.

Mahmood, a former all-rounder who played in three World Cups for Pakistan, said New Zealand had a good record early in tournaments but often wilted under pressure at the business end. "They were unbeaten in 1992 too before playing against us and we won the game, they're unbeaten again and I hope we repeat the show, but boys will have to give their best", Akram told media.

Their remain plenty of question marks around their play despite the five wins with their catching continuing to be suspect while the over-reliance on Kane Williamson (373 runs) with the bat is far too great as he has scored nearly double those of Ross Taylor (200) in second and 240 more runs than the third-highest scoring Kiwi batsmen in Martin Guptill (133).

- Pakistan picked up a six-wicket win in their last ODI clash with New Zealand in November, ending a 12-game losing streak against the Black Caps. In a tournament where wrist-spinners were expected to rule, New Zealand's performance is the ultimate proof that pace is still the order of the day.

But Pakistan have a good record in matches between the two sides, winning six of their eight World Cup encounters, including semi-final victories in 1992 and in the 1999 edition, also in England. "If we do the basics right, it's just about us, not them".

New Zealand: Kane Williamson (captain), Martin Guptill, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Colin Munro, Jimmy Neesham, Henry Nicholls, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Tom Blundell.

"We've had a couple of tight games, which I guess the key so far is other people have been stepping up, and I guess that's what you want to do as a team", he said. So that's nice, obviously, going into each game, that you know you've got confidence.

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"We're at the top at the moment (before the England v Australia result), but we can't take any games lightly". The Birmingham match will also be of special interest to Indian fans.

If Pakistan are to better New Zealand, they will have to improve in the field.

The 2015 World Cup runners-up have been undefeated in the tournament so far.

Pakistan have dropped 14 catches - the most by any team in the World Cup so far.

Williamson is their highest run-getter in the tournament so far.

Sumit Chakraberty is the author of 2019 Cricket World Cup Thinking Cap.

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