As far as the ICC World T20 2014 is concerned Pakistan will be one of the frontrunners considering the fact that it won the tournament in 2009, 2 years after losing it to India in a memorable final at the Wanderers. New Zealand, on the other hand, will be regarded as dark horses of the tournament considering they have always performed creditably in the shorter formats. However, with regards to recent form Pakistan are in slight better condition than New Zealand having drawn their series against Sri Lanka – New Zealand also played its last T20s against the same team and lost the 2 match series by 1-0. Pakistan will also find the conditions in Bangladesh to its advantage having played the Asia Cup a few days back and also from the experience of its players in the Bangladesh Premier League as well as the Dhaka Premier League.
Group: Ranked 7th in international T20s Pakistan is in the same group as West Indies and India who are ranked higher than itself and Australia, which is ranked lower. New Zealand will be in the same group as Sri Lanka, England and South Africa and happens to be the lowest ranked team in the group.
Batting: New Zealand has a capable batting line up with the likes of skipper Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Ross Taylor, Kane Williamson and Anton Devchich. Big hitting allrounder Corey Anderson and Colin Munro, yet another allrounder in the team, will be expected to play important roles in the team. Luke Ronchi, the keeper, will most probably bat down the order, where he will be expected to make sizeable contributions at quick pace as he has been doing of late with startling regularity.
Pakistan has chosen a largely inexperienced batting line up for the tournament. Much will depend on Ahmed Shehzad and Umar Akmal. Newcomers Sharjeel Khan and Sohaib Maqsood will be expected to score properly as well so that the team has a good chance of competing at the tournament. They will be well supported by allrounder Shoaib Malik and Mohammed Hafeez, who is leading the side as well. Hafeez will also have the additional responsibility of opening the attack.The experience of Kamran Akmal will be crucial as well and will relieve his younger brother Umar so that he can get the big runs at a quick pace.
Bowling: New Zealand has a chosen a strong seam bowling attack for the tournament. Trent Boult and Tim Southee are the leaders of the test attack but one feels that Kyle Mills and Mitchell McClenaghan will have a bigger role to play considering they are regarded as specialists of this format. Allrounder Jimmy Neesham will provide some much needed support in this department. The spin attack will be handled by the veteran Nathan McCullum and newcomer Ronnie Hira.
Pakistan has a much more well round out attack compared to New Zealand. The seam attack is formidable with frontrunners like Junaid Khan, Umar Gul and Sohail Tanvir being backed up by Bilawal Bhatti and Mohammad Talha. The spin attack features Saeed Ajmal, who is the best offie in the world right now and Zulfiqur Babar, a very capable spinner in his own right. They will be backed up by the mercurial Shahid Afridi.
Possible first team: The Kiwi first team could look like this: Guptill, B. McCullum, Taylor, Williamson, Anderson, Ronchi, Neesham, Southee/Hira (depending upon pitch and opposition), N. McCullum, Mills, McClenaghan.
Pakistan could choose the following players for the first eleven: Shehzad, Sharjeel, Hafeez, Maqsood, U. Akmal, K. Akmal, Afridi, Tanvir, Junaid, Gul, Ajmal.
Problems: As far as New Zealand is concerned, there is lack of big hitting talent – someone like Ryder would have been really useful. They could also face some problems facing up to the spin bowlers and adjusting to the slow and low pitches of Bangladesh.