Having won their tournament opener with consummate ease, a resurgent New Zealand side would be on a look out for a Super Eight berth when it takes on Pakistan in a Group D encounter here tomorrow.
The Kiwis, led by a record 123-run knock by Brendon McCullum, registered a convincing victory over Bangladesh, but it would, by no means, be an easier preposition for Ross Taylor’s boys against the former champions.
Pakistan are far better equipped than their Asian neighbours, and with a formidable bowling line-up that includes the likes of off-spinner Saeed Ajmal and speedster Umar Gul, they certainly have the necessary fire power to put a tab on the Kiwis.
Pakistan’s main worry, however, remain their inconsistent batting.
They were bundled out for a paltry 96 against England in their warm-up match and their victory against India in the first warm-up game came only after being revived from a precarious position by an extra-ordinary innings from Kamran Akmal.
Pakistan’s two most experienced campaigners in Shahid Afridi and Shoaib Malik have woefully been out of form and their top-order exhibits inexperience in the shortest format of the game.
Though, Malik played a handful unbeaten 37-run knock against India, Afridi just managed a naught and five in the two warm-up matches. He has also looked ordinary with the ball, which puts a lot of pressure on the Pakistani think-tank ahead of the crucial tie.
Young Umar Akmal’s form also remains a cause of concern for Hafeez. The 22-year-old has just managed 27 runs from his last four innings. The senior of the Akmal brothers has also been good only in patches.
Pakistan’s strength, however, is their bowling unit, which boasts of both experience and aggression.