It seems as though every match in the Cricket World Cup has plenty riding on it at the minute and that is very much the case on Wednesday when New Zealand look to book a spot in the semi-final when they take on Pakistan at Edgbaston.
The demise of England has opened the door right up for Pakistan but they have to win this match to keep their own semi-final chances alive. This match is wonderfully set and with the weather set fair it should be some occasion at the Birmingham track.
The boys from the AllSportsBetting Podcast are back to preview New Zealand vs Pakistan with Kev explaining three of his four selections as well as a full run down on what we can expect from what we now know is a massive match at Edgbaston. Click play below to listen to their thoughts.
The Kiwis remain unbeaten in this tournament but only they will be able to tell us how. Actually to be fair we know how. They have held their nerve in the tight moments on three occasions and that can often be the hallmarks of a champion side. They looked beaten against Bangladesh and South Africa before narrowly coming through and then they survived one of the most brutal onslaughts ever seen in World Cup cricket to see off West Indies.
One of the reasons why New Zealand have had to do things the hard way is because their batting line up hasn’t really fired as one yet. Their captain Kane Williamson has been terrific but there haven’t been many contributions alongside him. That they have won so many games without support for him bodes very well should the time come when he does get it, assuming that he can maintain his form for the remainder of the competition.
Just quietly there are shoots of life out of Pakistan again and having got all their tough fixtures out of the way now they can attack their last three with the knowledge that if they win them all they will most likely be into the semi-final. This is a huge game for them but they have shown a liking for knockout cricket in England before, and that is pretty much what this one is in all but name.
If Pakistan are to continue winning then their route to victory is simple. They need to keep delivering the batting performances that they produced to beat South Africa last time out. I always think Pakistan are much better when batting first so even when the wicket doesn’t look great they need to be brave as they have a bowling attack that can defend near enough anything if they are given the chance to.
New Zealand haven’t made a change to their side in the competition yet and there appears to be no real reason why they would do so now. They might look to give game time to their four squad members down the line but they would want to secure a semi-final spot first.
Pakistan have just put in one of their best ODI performances for a while and although Mohammad Hafeez’s seat is getting warm he probably has just enough credit as an all-rounder to remain in the side.
I like Pakistan here I have to say. New Zealand’s batting has been a concern of mine throughout the tournament and at some point Kane Williamson will fail and it will be interesting to see what they have then. It is only really him and Ross Taylor in any kind of touch with the willow and they come up against a bowling attack on top form here and looking to wreak further damage. We are taking a slight leap of faith on Pakistan with the bat but I think we can do that now as the majority of their top six are in decent form and there is some depth to them. I’m not expecting a high scoring game but the more balanced form of Pakistan with bat and ball can see off a New Zealand side who aren’t batting as well as I would like.
Ross Taylor is one who is batting well however and I think he can cover a run line of 34.5 in this match. Taylor has a very good record against Pakistan. In his last 10 ODI innings against them he has six 50s, a ton and a 45* which would have been more had the target not been reached. There is something about this Pakistan attack that seems to bring out the best in him. With the other batsmen in the side not going great guns Taylor will need to deliver a score and the history suggests he’ll get to 35 here. He has scores of 82, 48, 1 and 69 to his name in this tournament so he’s in good nick and can get to 35 in this match.
Shadab Khan likes playing against New Zealand. He has two 50s against them in ODI cricket as well as a four-wicket haul, a three for and two for so his performance line is on the low side at 39.5. He has covered this line with a bit to spare against England and South Africa in this tournament and given that New Zealand aren’t the best players of spin I think it makes sense to expect him to cover it again here. Two wickets will do as will an average game with bat and ball. He is Pakistan’s best fielder so he could score points there too. I expect him to cover this line.
Finally I’ll have a dabble on the Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed to top score for his side. There might be a time in this match when the Pakistani side need their skipper to stand up and be counted and therefore I’ll back him to deliver the goods. He played a scratchy innings in the defeat to India but that aside he is having a decent World Cup. He has scores of 55 and 40 in previous matches and has the calmness under pressure that could be needed for Pakistan here. At 10/1 I think there is enough juice in the price to justify a bet.
WON – Back Pakistan to beat New Zealand for a 4/10 stake at 2.20 with Betfair
Back them here:
Back R.Taylor – Over 34.5 runs for a 4/10 stake at 1.83 with William Hill
Back him here:
Back S.Khan’s Performance – Over 39.5pts for a 4/10 stake at 2.00 with Bet365
Back S.Ahmed Top Pakistan Batsman for a 1/10 stake at 11.00 with Coral