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New Zealand and Pakistan must step up with captains absent at Eden Park

New Zealand Pakistan captains

When the Twenty20 International Series begins on Friday, New Zealand and Pakistan will have to play without their top scorer and captains, Kane Williamson and Babar Azam.

After the birth of his first child, Black Caps skipper Williamson will sit out the first of three T20s but will be available for the rest of the series.

New Zealand senior players Trent Boult, Tim Southee, Kyle Jamieson and Daryl are also going to miss the first match at Eden Park.

Read more: Pakistan cricket team set to train after cleared from isolation

Babar is held out of the series due to broken thumb, in his replacement, the Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan steps up to lead the country despite having a groin injury while for the first match of the series, Mitchell Santner captains New Zealand.

Pakistan Must Show They Can Cope Without Babar

Babar’s absence is a huge blow to Pakistan, who last month sealed Zimbabwe’s T20I whitewash.

Babar Azam is the Pakistan cricket team captain in all formats and currently second-best player in T20I format behind England’s David Malan.

More Fire Power from Phillips and Conway

After their heroics in the T20 series-clinching drubbing of the Windies, Glenn Phillips and Devon Conway understandably retain their place in the New Zealand squad.

At the end of last month, Phillips smashed a 46-ball century – the fastest by a New Zealander in T20Is – and Conway blasted 65 not out in a 72-run hammering at Mount Maunganui.

Their crushing 183-run partnership was a world record at the international level for the third wicket in the t20i.

Key Facts

  • Pakistan won against New Zealand in their last two bilateral T20I series
  • New Zealand lost four T20I games in a row at Eden Park before crushing West Indies in November.
  • Pakistan are winless in their last three bilateral series away from home, losing two and drawing one. Prior to that they had won seven in a row.
  • Martin Guptill has scored 463 T20I runs between New Zealand and Pakistan, the most by any player, including four half-centuries.
  • In T20I cricket, Mohammad Hafeez scored 412 runs against New Zealand, the most against any country by a Pakistani player.
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