31 Oct 2018

Black Caps set for one of the biggest challenges in cricket

9:24 am on 31 October 2018

Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson says they realise they're facing one of the biggest challenges in cricket when they take on Pakistan in a T20 series starting tomorrow morning.

Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson.

Black Caps skipper Kane Williamson. Photo: Photosport

Pakistan are the number one ranked T20 side in the world, they're on a 10-game winning streak and have just demolished Australia in their series.

The Black Caps haven't played since last summer, when they were beaten by Pakistan in a T20 series at home, although some players have been involved in various leagues around the world.

Williamson says they know their opposition well.

"I think last time we played them was at home in New Zealand, it was a tough series, coming over here they're extremely strong in these conditions and their world ranking suggests that as well and they've had a lot of success in recents times, so we know it's a tough challenge but one we're looking forward to."

Williamson, Colin Munro, Ross Taylor and Ish Sodhi were part of various franchises during the IPL or CPL, while Glenn Phillips, Corey Anderson and Mark Chapman played for New Zealand A in a three-match T20 series against Pakistan A in Dubai earlier this month.

In the absence of the injured Martin Guptill, Phillips is expected to open the innings with Munro, while Williamson and Taylor will complete the top four.

Anderson and Colin de Grandhomme are expected to fill the allrounders spots.

Ish Sodhi is expected to lead the New Zealand spin attack, and given the nature of the wickets in Abu Dhabi, he is likely to be backed by the left-arm spin of uncapped 30-year-old Ajaz Patel, who was a late callup to the side.

Babar Azam celebrates his 50, 31/1/16.

Babar Azam celebrates his 50, 31/1/16. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Pakistan's Babar Azam is the current number one T20 batsman in the world, having averaged 104 over his last five matches.

"It [seven months] is an unusually long time between internationals but I guess that makes the guys very excited to get back involved. It's a great country to come to and play cricket against Pakistan, who are one of the strongest teams in world cricket at the moment," said Williamson.