Pakistan captain Babar Azam is set to become the third player from his country to feature in 100 T20Is when he takes the field in the first T20I against New Zealand on Friday. With 99 appearances under his belt, Babar will join Shoaib Malik (123) and Mohammad Hafeez (119) in the elite list of Pakistan players with 100 or more appearances in the shortest format of the game. Babar has amassed 3,355 runs in T20Is with two centuries and 30 fifties to his name.
The upcoming T20I series against New Zealand provides an opportunity for Pakistan to redeem itself after a disappointing loss against Afghanistan in their previous series. The team will be determined to put on a show for their fans and make a strong comeback. Skipper Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Fakhar Zaman, and Haris Rauf, who missed the Afghanistan T20I series in Sharjah, are all back in the squad. Pakistan will be relieved to see their star T20I players back in action after they were sorely missed in their 2-1 loss to Afghanistan.
Meanwhile, New Zealand will face a significant challenge as they play T20Is in Pakistan for the first time without several key players, including regular skipper Kane Williamson, who is absent due to IPL commitments. With numerous players involved in IPL, the inexperienced Black Caps will be led by Tom Latham. However, they can take heart from their performance in the ODI series against Pakistan three months ago, where they won 2-1 despite having a much stronger squad at their disposal.
The series promises to be an exciting contest between two competitive sides. Pakistan will look to make the most of their home advantage and a strong team, while New Zealand will be eager to prove their mettle in unfamiliar territory with a depleted squad. Cricket fans can look forward to an intriguing battle between these two teams.
Pakistan T20I Squad: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Fakhar Zaman, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Ihsanullah, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Haris, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan, Naseem Shah, Saim Ayub, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood and Zaman Khan .
New Zealand T20I Squad: Tom Latham (c), Chad Bowes, Mark Chapman, Dane Cleaver, Matt Henry, Ben Lister, Adam Milne, Cole McConchie, Daryl Mitchell, Jimmy Neesham, Rachin Ravindra, Henry Shipley, Ish Sodhi, Blair Tickner and Will Young.