Shoaib Malik has been in good form © AFP
Shoaib Malik has been in good form © AFP

A confident New Zealand side lock horns with Pakistan in ICC World T20 Super 10 Group 2 Match 23 at Mohali. New Zealand are currently brimming with confidence after defeating the hosts India and then Australia in their first two matches while for Pakistan, it is more like a do or die situation as they have won a match and lost one. A lot changed in between their first win over Bangladesh and their recent defeat against India and they need to rethink of their plans against an in-form New Zealand. Before the match, here is Pakistan’s likely XI. LIVE CRICKET SCORECARD: New Zealand vs Pakistan, Match 23, Super 10 Group 2 at Mohali

Top-order: After trying a lot of  combinations for the opening spot, Pakistan seem to have found a stable pair in Sharjeel Khan and Ahmed Shehzad. Though left-handed Sharjeel has failed to deliver consistently, he can play cameo at the top with some quick-fire 30-odd runs and can elevate the runrate while Shehzad is there to play a rather stable innings and stay there for long. At No. 3, Pakistan can go with their much in-form Mohammad Hafeez who can ensure big runs. Since the warm-up matches, Hafeez has been in great touch, which is a plus for his side and can become the savior for the side.

Middle-order: The Pakistan middle-order looks a lot settled but only one question remains same, the form of their Twenty20 International (T20I) skipper Shahid Afridi. Afridi, though played a match-winning knock of 49 off 19 against Bangladesh, could not do much in the next fixture against India. Umar Akmal, on the other hand, have been more consistent while Shoaib Malik can also play brief but important knocks. The partnership between the two can turn out to be a winning factor any day if the top-order provide a good start. Another important member of the Pakistan middle-order is Sarfraz Ahmed who can play sensible cricket and survive at the crease even after a top-order collapse. But most importantly, Shahid Afridi still stands between win or loss for Pakistan.

Bowlers: The department probably Pakistan depends the most upon is their bowling. While the attack is led by Mohammad Aamer who has turned out to be one of the most difficult to play, Mohammad Irfan has also been one bowler who can get necessary wickets with his varied line and change in pace. Pakistan also have Wahab Riaz, who has proved to be expensive and needs to get back his original form and save runs while taking wickets. Though Pakistan went for Mohammad Sami in their previous match, another good option can be Imad Wasim looking at the Indian conditions.

Pakistan’s likely XI: Ahmed Shehzad, Sharjeel Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Shahid Afridi (c), Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Sarfraz Ahmed(wk), Imad Wasim, Mohammad Aamer, Mohammad Irfan, Wahab Riaz

(Paulami Chakraborty, a singer, dancer, artist, and photographer, loves the madness of cricket and writes about the game. She can be followed on Twitter at @Polotwitts)