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In-form Pakistan hold edge over patchy New Zealand

Last updated on: March 8, 2011 09:44 IST

Afridi in form but batting a worry for Pak



In-form Pakistan will have to guard against complacency and their tendency to implode when they take on New Zealand in a World Cup Group A match in Kandy on Tuesday.

Possibly the most unpredictable outfit in international cricket, Pakistan have notched up successive victories against Kenya, Sri Lanka and Canada with skipper Shahid Afridi starring in all of them.

Their batting remains vulnerable but with Afridi on song and the pace duo of Shoaib Akhtar and Umar Gul chipping in with the early breakthroughs, Pakistan look capable of defending even modest totals.

Image: Shahid Afridi
Photographs: Getty Images

McCullum, Taylor look patchy

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In contrast, New Zealand comprehensively beat Kenya and Zimbabwe but failed in the only true test of their form, going down to Australia by seven wickets.

Despite former captain John Wright taking over the coaching reins, their top order comprising Brendon McCullum, Martin Guptill, Jesse Ryder and Ross Taylor looks patchy.

Their bowling does not really create panic among the elite teams either and that would make New Zealand's job doubly difficult against a Pakistan side which beat them in a home series before the World Cup.

Image: Brendon McCullum
Photographs: Reuters
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