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Pak vs NZ: Babar Azam scores another fifty as Pakistan reach 115-4 at lunch

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KARACHI: Pakistan are at 115-4 against New Zealand at lunch on day one of the opening Test in Karachi.

Skipper Babar Azam scored an unbeaten fifty for the hosts in the first session.

Earlier, Azam won the toss and opted to bat against New Zealand Monday in the first Test in Karachi.

The home team made three changes from the last Test which they lost to England at the same venue, suffering their first-ever home 3-0 whitewash.

Sarfaraz Ahmed is playing his first Test since January 2019, while pacer Mir Hamza returns for the first time in four years.

Opener Imam-ul-Haq is back after recovering from injury.

New Zealand start the Test with three spinners and as many pace bowlers.

The visitors were also beaten 3-0 by England in their last Test series.

Playing XI:

Pakistan: Imam-ul-Haq, Abdullah Shafique, Shan Masood, Babar Azam (capt), Saud Shakeel, Sarfaraz Ahmed (wk), Agha Salman, Nauman Ali, Mohammad Wasim, Mir Hamza, Abrar Ahmed

New Zealand: Tom Latham, Devon Conway, Kane Williamson, Henry Nicholls, Daryl Mitchell, Tom Blundell (wk), Michael Bracewell, Tim Southee (capt), Ish Sodhi, Neil Wagner, Ajaz Patel

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Rain cancels out Pakistan vs. New Zealand’s opening Twenty20 international

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As the rain returned, Shaheen Shah Afridi’s expertly timed in-swinger to dismiss Tim Robinson left only a two-ball match going on at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

On-field umpires Aleem Dar and Ahsan Raza shook hands with the players and decided to call off the contest as soon as the rain started up again. Additionally, there was a thirty-minute delay in the planned fixture toss. Then, after winning the coin toss, Michael Bracewell, the captain of New Zealand, decided to bat first.

The players from both sides assembled shortly after for the national anthems, but more rain caused the proceedings to be postponed.

The match appeared likely to be called off before a ball was played due to the intensity of the second spell of rain. But after the rain stopped, the ground crew worked extremely hard, and the game might go into five overs.

The second game, which takes place at the same location on April 20, will pit the two teams against one another.

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Azhar Mahmood suggests that Babar Azam should also take a break.

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Azhar Mahmood stated during a Rawalpindi press conference that, depending on the circumstances, any player, including Babar Azam, might be substituted during the five-match series.

“We shall endeavor to choose the top 11 players available for each game, taking the circumstances into consideration, in accordance with policy,” he continued.

The team’s management hasn’t chosen the starting duo yet, according to Azhar Mahmood in response to a query. “Who will open the inning has not been decided upon yet. Saim-Rizwan, Babar-Saim, or even Fakhar Zaman may start the inning as the opening duo, he continued.

With an emphasis on the team’s strong makeup and tactical preparations for their forthcoming home series against New Zealand, the head coach also conveyed his confidence in his team’s ability.

The coach expressed his faith in the team’s makeup, saying that it consists of a mix of skilled batters, quick bowlers, and adaptable all-around players.

Imad Wasim, an all-rounder, and Mohammad Amir, a fast bowler, were among the returning veterans that Azhar Mahmood believed strengthened the team. His statement went like this: “Their return will definitely strengthen our team.”

In response to a query, he described the New Zealand players as potential stars and dismissed the idea that they were a “B Team” that had been sent to face Pakistan.

Their extensive domestic cricket expertise is shown by the date. No side is weak in T20 cricket, and they are their best player. “They’re playing Pakistan; this is the New Zealand team,” Azhar Mahmood continued.

Fast bowler Shaheen Afridi, according to the head coach, is fully fit and eligible for the series beginning on April 18.

Pakistan squad

Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, Zaman Khan

Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, Mohammad Wasim Jr.

New Zealand squad

Michael Bracewell (c), Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), Ish Sodhi, Tom Blundell, Zak Foulkes.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series schedule

April 18 — 1st T20I, Rawalpindi

April 20 — 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi

April 21 — 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi

April 25 — 4th T20I, Lahore

April 27 — 5th T20I, Lahore

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Weather in Rawalpindi: PMD prediction for the Pakistan-New Zealand T20Is

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Rain is expected to have an impact on Pakistan vs. New Zealand’s five-match Twenty20 International series.

According to meteorological projections, the city is likely to have thunderstorms and rain starting tomorrow, and the rain is predicted to continue all week.

The series’ final two games are slated to take place in Lahore.

The Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) has forecasted a “rain-windstorm/thunderstorm with an isolated hailstorm” on April 18 throughout a number of Pakistani regions, including upper/southwest Sindh, KP, Gilgit-Baltistan, Kashmir, Islamabad, Punjab, and Balochistan.

On April 20, however, precipitation was predicted by the Met Office for KP, the nation’s capital, Punjab, northeastern Balochistan, Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

The New Zealand team has already landed in Islamabad for an intriguing five-match Twenty20 International series against Pakistan, it should be mentioned.

Pakistan vs New Zealand T20I series:

18 April: 1st T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm Pakistan Standard Time)
20 April: 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
21 April: 3rd T20I, Rawalpindi (7pm PST)
25 April: 4th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)
27 April: 5th T20I, Lahore (7pm PST)

Pakistan squad:
Babar Azam (c), Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Saim Ayub, Usman Khan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Azam Khan (wk), Imad Wasim, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Naseem Shah, Mohammad Amir, Abbas Afridi, Abrar Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Irfan Khan Niazi, Usama Mir, and Zaman Khan
Reserves: Haseebullah, Mohammad Ali, Agha Salman, Sahibzada Farhan, and Mohammad Wasim Jr

New Zealand squad:
Michael Bracewell (c), Tom Blundell, Mark Chapman, Josh Clarkson, Jacob Duffy, Dean Foxcroft, Ben Lister, Cole McConchie, Zak Foulkes, Jimmy Neesham, Will O’Rourke, Tim Robinson, Ben Sears, Tim Seifert (WK), and Ish Sodhi

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