The New Zealand-Pakistan T20 series has boiled down to the third and final match of the series at Westpac Stadium in Wellington on Friday. The series is currently tied at 1-1, after Pakistan and New Zealand emerged victorious in the first and second T20s, respectively.
Hence, the third T20 match, which acts as the series decider, is expected to be an entertaining one, with both teams eager for a win as it will play an important role in helping them gain confidence ahead of the T20 World Cup in March in India as well.
The first two matches of the series have witnessed Pakistan and New Zealand batsmen coming up with some quality performances to make them entertaining affairs. The final T20 may also witness the same prowess, with players such as Martin Guptill, Colin Munro and Kane Williamson in great form with the bat for the home team.
Guptill, who scored a majestic 68-ball 87 in the second T20, has looked in top form, and will hold the key for New Zealand in their batting line-up. Munro will be another player who will be keen to score huge runs as he has been doing of late. Such innings will also go a long way in helping their case when the IPL auction takes place in Bengaluru in 6 February.
However, New Zealand also need their middle and lower order to deliver with the bat, if required. They were poor in the first T20, where they lost nine wickets for 66 runs. This batting collapse led to the defeat as well.
Pakistan, on the other hand, have been decent with the bat, but they need their batsmen to score big runs after they get their eye in. They have given away their wickets way too easily. Pakistan will depend on Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Mailk and skipper Shahid Afridi to deliver on Friday.
The Pakistan T20 skipper, Afridi, who is set to play in New Zealand for the last time, wants to make it a memorable occasion with an impressive batting and bowling performance, and see his team emerge victorious in the series.
"Obviously my performance is always playing a major role in the team, and I am focusing on my performance with bat and ball. Maybe this will be my last tour, and I want to finish it with some good bowling and good batting," stuff.co.nz quoted Afridi as saying.
Though the series has primarily been about batsmen, bowlers from both sides need to do their bit as well to help their team clinch the T20 series.
Where to watch live
New Zealand vs Pakistan 3rd T20 is schedule for a 7 pm local time (11:30 am IST, 6 am GMT, 1 am ET) start. There is no live coverage of the match in India.
New Zealand viewers can watch the New Zealand vs Pakistan 3rd T20 live on Sky Sport Network.
PTV Sportswill show the New Zealand vs Pakistan 3rd T20 live in Pakistan and can also be viewed online on PTV Sports Live.