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T20 World Cup: New Zealand vs Pakistan preview

New Zealand are going to have something to say about it, but Pakistan may feel the stars are aligning as these countries prepare for their T20 World Cup 2022 semi-final in Sydney.

After three weeks of captivating cricket and mixed weather, there are four teams standing in the T20 World Cup 2022.

India and England meet in the second semi-final at the Adelaide Oval on Thursday, 24 hours after New Zealand and Pakistan clash at the SCG.

India are 11/5 to go on and lift the trophy, England 5/2 and New Zealand 3/1, though it's 10/3 shots Pakistan who must feel that they are somehow destined to go all the way.

WhatNew Zealand vs Pakistan, T20 World Cup semi-final
WhereSydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
When08:00, Wednesday 9th November 2022
How to watchSky Sports Cricket
OddsNew Zealand 4/5, Pakistan 1/1

Is history on Babar's side?

It'll take a lot more than parallels with the past to determine who wins the first semi-final at the SCG, but it's easy to understand why millions of Pakistan cricket fans feel this is their time.

It was 30 years ago at the 1992 World Cup when Pakistan won their one and only world title, and the way they managed it then - also Down Under, incidentally - has eerie comparisons with what's been unfolding over the last few weeks.

Back then they were out on their feet in the group phase of the competition, basically needing to win their last three round-robin matches and getting help from others to make the semis. It happened then. It's happened now.

And just like 30 years ago Australia were the defending champions who bowed out early. And just like 30 years ago it was New Zealand in the semis. The similarities with the script are uncanny.

Black Caps in mood to rip up script

New Zealand, of course, will be acutely aware of the hysteria sweeping Pakistan after their great escape thanks to South Africa's last-match bottle job, but the Black Caps will be utterly unfazed by any of it.

Kane Williamson's men have looked rock-solid at the competition so far, kicking off the tournament with a stunning demolition of Australia, while also producing comprehensive wins over Sri Lanka and Ireland.

Their one reverse was against England, but they won the group with a far superior run-rate and will expect to land the 4/5 odds and book their place in the final for the second time in two years.

They have explosive batters at the top order, notably opener Finn Allen, who boasts a 190 strikerate and if he can hang around longer than the powerplay, the potential for destruction is obvious.

However, they can get bogged down as demonstrated in their 20-run loss to England when Williamson's run-a-ball 40 would have looked clever had his team got over the line, but looked sluggish because they didn't. Those are the fine lines.

Allen is 15/4 to be top New Zealand runscorer though Williamson at 4/1, given his ability to build an innings, is probably the better bet.

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Pakistan need to master Kiwi attack

The most eye-catching aspect of New Zealand's run to the final is they have used only five bowlers. And three of that quintet - Tim Southee, Mitchell Santner and Ish Sodhi - are all going at under seven an over.

However, bowling is also the strength of the Pakistan set-up. All of their five frontline bowlers are going at under seven an over with paceman Naseem Shah bowling with an economy rate of 5.66.

Pakistan's Achilles heel in the tournament so far has been the batting and it's not entirely clear they know the solution.

They have always backed Babar Azam and Mohammed Rizwan at the top of the innings to set a tempo or chase a target.

But they aren't inventive enough and Babar's efforts so far - five knocks, 39 runs, a strikerate of under 62 - is the stuff of nightmares at this level.

Rizwan isn't faring any better given he has faced over 100 balls yet boasts a strikerate of exactly 100. Mohammad Nawaz's strike rate is 110, Shan Masood's 115 - this is a batting side who aren't playing modern-day T20 cricket.

And against a bowling attack as accurate and disciplined as New Zealand's that threatens to be the crucial factor.

Pakistan will always back themselves - they beat hosts New Zealand 2-1 in a three-match warm-up series, so they know they can topple the Black Caps.

And given what's happened in the tournament so far they'll also believe their name is on the trophy. 

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