1st Semi-Final: Pakistan vs New Zealand, Key Face-offs

image-la8jpl5iPakistan vs New Zealand (Source: Twitter)

The ICC T20 World Cup 2022 is now down to its business end with only three matches left in the tournament. The competition is all ready to get its first finalist of this edition from the match between Pakistan and New Zealand

Two teams who have had a completely different journey in the competition so far. New Zealand looked on the money from their first game against Australia, which they won rather convincingly. They maintained their form throughout the Super 12 stage and only lost a match to England only during the journey. 

On the other hand, Pakistan had a rocky start to the tournament. They lost their first match against arch-rivals, India and to add salt to injury Zimbabwe handed them a defat in the next encounter. However, they won the next three matches and a few results went in their favour and now they are in the top 4.

The first semi-final of the tournament will be taking place at the Sydney Cricket Ground. There will be many a small wars within the big battle that will determine the fate of the contest. 

Key player battles of the match

Babar Azam vs Tim Southee

image-la8jx2ocBabar Azam vs Tim Southee (Source: One Cricket)

Babar Azam has been completely out of touch in this tournament. He is finding it difficult to get going and give starts to his team. As it is said that big players perform in big matches and Pakistan will hope that Babar brings out the best in him in this match. 

He will be seen opening the innings for Pakistan and will surely be facing Tim Southee. How will the encounter between the two turn out? A peak into the history of this clash might give us an idea. 

image-la8irmn2Babar Azam vs Tim Southee in T20Is

Balance of the face-off

Tim Southee has so far dominated the contest. Not only has he dismissed Babar Azam twice in T20Is, he has not even conceded runs at run a ball to him. In the mega clash this contest will surely go a long way in determining the fate. 

Kane Williamson vs Shaheen Afridi

image-la8k0obkKane Williamson vs Shaheen Afridi (Source: One Cricket)

Both Kane Williamson and Shaheen Afridi are very important and key parts of their respective teams' plans. As a matter of fact both these players had struggled with form at the beginning of the tournament. 

But much to the relief of the two teams Kane and Shaheen have regained their forms in their last Super 12 match. The shift of this contest might turn out to be the key factor in deciding which of these two teams qualify for the finals. 

image-la8j148rKane Williamson vs Shaheen Afridi in T20Is

Balance of the face-off

So far, Shaheen has had the slight upper hand over Kane Williamson. Though the sample size is small but Shaheen has dismissed him once in 12 balls and has also not allowed him to score at more than run a ball. 

Mohammad Rizwan vs Trent Boult

image-la8k51puRizwan vs Boult (Source: One Cricket)

Along with Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan is another mainstay of the Pakistan batting. Much like his skipper he has also not had the best of times in this tournament. 

However, Pakistan will hope that he finds his touch in this all important match. As he will be opening the innings with Babar Azam, it is given that Rizwan will have to face the Kiwi speedster Trent Boult. Rizwan's wicket will be very important as he generally sets the tone of the innings for his team and Boult will surely be hunting for his wicket early on. 

image-la8j8o3bMohammad Rizwan vs Trent Boult in T20Is

Balance of the face-off

This has been a more or less balanced contest till now. Rizwan has scored at the rate of 120 runs per 100 balls against Boult, which could be termed a mediocre effort in today's T20 cricket. But the batter has the advantage of not being dismissed by Boult till now. So, though a balanced contest, it is safe to say Rizwan has his nose slightly ahead in this. 

Devon Conway vs Haris Rauf

image-la8k8w63Devon Conway vs Haris Rauf (Source: One Cricket)

Devon Conway has been giving some good starts to New Zealand in the tournament. He provides the extra bit of solidity to the team at the top of the order.

On the other hand is Haris Rauf, who has not been at his best in the tournament. Rauf had a decent tournament till now but the expectations on him for this match will be even more. 

image-la8jjln4Devon Conway vs Haris Rauf in T20Is

Balance of the face-off

Haris Rauf has had the complete upper hand against Devon Conway. Not only has Rauf contained the batter he has also picked up his wicket in nearly every 7th delivery. So, during the match we might see a strategical change from Babar as he introduces Rauf with the new ball to sent Conway back to the pavilion as early as possible. 

Also Read: T20 World Cup 2022: What to expect from the Semi-Finalists: India