New dad Kane Williamson returns as New Zealand look to sew up T20I series

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New dad Kane Williamson returns as New Zealand look to sew up T20I series


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Boult, Southee also back in the T20I side while Santner gets a break

Big picture

Just four white-ball internationals into New Zealand’s home summer and two fringe players have delivered record-breaking performances. Glenn Phillips became New Zealand’s fastest T20I centurion, while more recently on Friday, Jacob Duffy returned the best T20I figures by a New Zealander on debut. Duffy will now reunite with his domestic side Otago, but despite that, New Zealand will only be getting stronger thanks to the comebacks of new dad Kane Williamson, Tim Southee and Trent Boult, among others.

Williamson returned to the Seddon Park nets on the eve of the second T20I against Pakistan and was warmly welcomed back by his team-mates and coaches. The captain is set to regain his No. 3 spot, with Devon Conway and Phillips possibly shifting down the order. New Zealand, though, will be without their gun spinner and Hamilton local Mitchell Santner, who has got a break following T20 appearances in the CPL and the IPL followed by a brief stint as New Zealand’s T20I captain. Coach Gary Stead conceded that Santner’s absence was a “big loss”, but was looking forward to testing out the other spin options in Ish Sodhi and Todd Astle as the team management plans for next year’s T20 World Cup in India.

As for Pakistan, they need to shake off the rust, which was evident during the series opener at Eden Park. Wicketkeeper-opener Mohammad Rizwan laboured to a run-a-ball 17 and the rest of the top order too struggled to deal with the bounce. Seddon Park is unlikely to be as bouncy as Eden Park was, but for an inexperienced side to quickly adjust to the New Zealand conditions is tough, as stand-in captain Shadab Khan pointed out.

Despite the top-order troubles and fumbles in the field, Haris Rauf and Shaheen Afridi made a fist of Pakistan’s defence and discomfited New Zealand’s middle order at various points. If Rauf and co. could do more of the same and find greater support from the batsmen, Pakistan could well force the series into a decider at McLean Park on Tuesday.

Form guide

Last five completed matches, most recent first

New Zealand WWWLT (lost Super Over)

Pakistan LWWWW

In the spotlight

Brendon McCullum was particularly impressed with how Tim Seifert put his ego aside and floated in the middle order for the Trinbago Knight Riders in the CPL earlier this year. On Friday, Seifert shelved his trick shots again – this time at the top – and dragged the chase deep. Over the winter, he has also worked on his wicketkeeping, and will end this year as a more well-rounded cricketer than he was at the start of 2020.





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