After completing an emphatic whitewash against Australia, Pakistan have further consolidated their position at top of the ICC rankings in T20 internationals. They are now set to host New Zealand for a full tour with the T20 leg starting October 31.
Ever since Sarfraz Ahmed took over as captain, Pakistan have won 26 of their 30 matches and the hammering of Australia was their tenth straight series win.
“We want to carry forward the winning momentum of the Australia series,” said Sarfraz during a press-conference.
Left-handed opening batsman Fakhar Zaman is still sidelined with the knee problem that forced him to sit out in the last game against Australia.
Sarfraz has admitted that New Zealand is just two points behind Australia in the ICC team rankings and having played three fewer matches, will be a tougher opponent.
“They (New Zealand) have a strong team with ideal batsmen for Twenty20 and a balanced bowling attack so we need to set the tone from the first game by winning it,” said the Pakistani skipper.
On the other hand, New Zealand also have hard hitting all-rounders in their side — Corey Anderson and Colin de Grandhomme, with pace attack spearheaded by Tim Southee, Lockie Ferguson and Adam Milne.
Kane Williamson says that his team need to be at their best to beat the top team.
“Obviously, Pakistan are a strong side,” said the New Zealand skipper.
He also admitted that opener Martin Guptill, who is out of the tour with a calf strain, will be missed. “He (Guptill) is obviously a world class player for us and a big performer.”
The two teams will also play three Tests and three one-day internationals after the T20I series.
Squads for 3 T20 internationals:
Sarfraz Ahmed (captain), Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Sahibzada Farhan, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Hussain Talat, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Usman Khan Shanwari, Hasan Ali, Imad Wasim, Waqas Maqsood, Faheem Ashraf.
Kane Williamson (captain), Corey Anderson, Mark Chapman, Lockie Ferguson, Colin de Grandhomme, Adam Milne, Colin Munro, Ajaz Patel, Glenn Phillips, Seth Rance, Tim Seifert, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor.