Cricket fever in Abu Dhabi as Pakistan take on Kiwis

The clash between two of the finest teams in instant cricket will be exciting with Pakistan, the world Twenty20 champions, while New Zealand emerged runners up in the recent Champions Trophy.

Abu Dhabi: After barely recovering from Formula One fever, Abu Dhabi is now ready to host an exciting cricket series between Pakistan and New Zealand from Tuesday at the Zayed Cricket Stadium.

The clash between two of the finest teams in instant cricket will be exciting with Pakistan, the world Twenty20 champions, while New Zealand emerged runners up in the recent Champions Trophy.

The Kiwis are still reeling under the pressure of injuries to their top players. Skipper Daniel Vettori is confident of his team once again performing unaffected by the absence of their top players.

“This is another chance for the players to prove themselves. We hope we can do a repeat of the Champions Trophy here,” remarked Vettori.

If New Zealand was hit by injuries, Pakistan was hit by allegations that their team had underperformed during the Champions Trophy and their skipper Younus Khan was even accused of match fixing.

Khan came out of the controversy with flying colours and has been appointed skipper till the 2011 World Cup. “Today my mind is free and I can concentrate on my captaincy. If we manage to focus on every tour, we can be ranked among the top three nations in the world.”

Both captains thus enter the field with clear objectives.

Respect

The interesting factor is that both teams have huge respect for each other’s strength. Vettori candidly admitted that Pakistan has one of the finest attacks in the world and picked young left-arm pacer Mohammad Aamer as the danger man.

Interestingly, Vettori too has a fine pace attack led by Shane Bond and Kyle Mills. “I am expecting Bond and Mills to bowl as well as they did in the Champions Trophy,” said Vettori, who will also have to play the role of a guide in the absence of their coach Andy Moles, who resigned just before the tour.

Khan respects New Zealand for their team spirit. “Despite losing their top players they play as a team. They can also play under all conditions. Since the wickets here might help spinners, New Zealand has an outstanding spinner in Vettori, who can exploit such a wicket,” noted Khan.

Squads

Pakistan (from): Younus Khan (capt), Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Khalid Latif, Mohammad Yousuf, Shoaib Malik, Umer Akmal, Kamran Akmal, Abdul Razzaq, Rana Naved-ul-Hasan, Shahid Afridi, Saeed Ajmal, Umar Gul, Mohammad Aamir, Rao Iftikhar, Wahab Riaz

New Zealand (from): Daniel Vettori (capt), Shane Bond, Neil Broom, Ian Butler, James Franklin, Martin Guptill, Brendon McCullum, Nathan McCullum, Kyle Mills, Jacob Oram, Aaron Redmond, Tim Southee, Scott Styris, Ross Taylor, Bradley-John Watling.

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