New Zealand are set to make their ICC Men’s debut t20 world cup Campaign against Pakistan in Sharjah on Tuesday Cricket Stadium. This is New Zealand’s first game against the Babar Azam-led outfit after the infamous last-minute withdrawal from the tour of Pakistan earlier this year due to a security threat.
Ahead of the much-awaited match, Kiwi captain Kane Williamson is hopeful that the Pakistan team will not hold any grudge against him for skipping the tour. Needless to mention that Williamson was not a part of the New Zealand squad in Pakistan.
The 31-year-old also admitted that the players from both the teams share a very good relationship with each other.
“I am sure the game will be played in the right spirit,” Williamson said during the pre-match press conference.
The Blackcaps’ withdrawal due to security threats prompted the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to cancel their men’s and women’s tours of Pakistan. The ECB in its statement cited the physical and mental health of the players as the reason behind their decision.
Following the incident, the newly appointed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja had then said that the Pakistan team has now included England and New Zealand in their target list for the World Cup along with India.
Williamson also emphasized during his press meet that the decision to skip the Pakistan tour was taken by the New Zealand government. He also praised the performance of the Pakistan team against India in their first match of the tournament, saying that they are one of the pre-favourites to lift the World Cup trophy.
Three wickets from fast bowler Shaheen Afridi and half-centuries from Mohammad Rizwan (79 not out) and Babar Azam (68 not out) helped Pakistan beat India by ten wickets in the opening match of their tournament at the Dubai International Stadium on Sunday.
After their emphatic win over India, Pakistan are comfortably placed second in the Group 2 table with two points and an impressive run rate of +0.973.