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Shaheen Shah Afridi says he opted to bowl first due to a favourable bowling pitch

Pakistan skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi (right) and New Zealand skipper Kane Williamson during toss at Eden Park, Aukland on January 12, 2024. — X/@PCB

AUKLAND: Pakistan skipper Shaheen Shah Afridi won the toss and opted to bowl first against New Zealand in the first match of the T20I series being played at Eden Park today (Friday). 

Today’s match marks left-arm pacer Shaheen's first assignment as captain, having taken over the reins from Babar Azam.

Rizwan and Saim will open the match with Babar Azam featuring in the middle order. Fakhar, Iftikhar, and Azam Khan will show up at the crease in the fourth, fifth and sixth positions, respectively. Aamir and Usama will bat on the seventh and eighth numbers.

Fourth-ranked Pakistan last played T20Is in April 2023, when they faced New Zealand at home for a five-match series played in Lahore and Rawalpindi.

Wicketkeeper-batter Mohammad Rizwan, who has been named Shaheen’s vice-captain, was Pakistan’s leading run-getter in the series. Right-arm pacer Haris Rauf was the most successful bowler during that assignment.

Spinner Abrar Ahmed, who was initially part of the squad, has been ruled out owing to an injury he sustained last month during Pakistan’s Test tour of Australia.

Playing XI

Pakistan: Mohammad Rizwan, Saim Ayub, Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Aamir Jamal, Usama Mir (Debut), Shaheen Afridi (c), Abbas Afridi (Debut), Haris Rauf

New Zealand: Finn Allen, Devon Conway (wk), Kane Williamson (c), Daryl Mitchell, Glenn Phillips, Mark Chapman, Adam Milne, Matthew Henry, Tim Southee, Ish Sodhi, Ben Sears


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