Who: New Zealand vs Pakistan
When: Saturday, November 4, 10.30am (05:00 GMT)
Where: M Chinnaswamy Stadium, Bengaluru
The comeback kings face the early contenders on the slide when Pakistan face New Zealand in Bengaluru on Saturday.
Pakistan, renowned as notoriously dangerous animals when caged, stormed to a seven-wicket win against Bangladesh in Kolkata on Tuesday to end a four match losing streak.
The Kiwis, defeated finalists in 2019, won their first four games but have now lost three on the bounce, including humbling defeat by South Africa on Wednesday.
The run has seen them slip to fourth spot, two places and two points above Pakistan, in the final qualifying sport for the semifinals.
“We won’t make it bigger than what it is,” New Zealand batter Daryl Mitchell said, instead choosing to look ahead to the match against Pakistan.
“It’s another two points for this tournament, which is important for us in the big scheme of things, but we’ll keep playing like Black Caps do and I’m sure we’ll come a long way to winning the game.”
Pakistan are sixth in the table, two points behind Afghanistan in fifth. A win for Pakistan would take them level with the Kiwis with one game to play.
Sri Lanka await New Zealand in Bengaluru next Thursday while Pakistan face England in Kolkata next Saturday.
A defeat would put the Kiwis out of reach for Pakistan, although third-placed Australia could still be caught as they also sit on eight points. They would, however, have a game in hand on the two teams immediately below them.
“I’ll be brutally honest, I don’t think we’ve played to our full potential in this tournament yet,” Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur said. “I thought the Bangladesh game was the first game where we actually put a complete game together.”
“We batted beautifully, bowled beautifully and fielded beautifully, which in all the other games we’ve done one or two disciplines OK. But our other disciplines let us down.
“I’d like to say we’re peaking … But we found our best game against Bangladesh and I just hope that’s not too late for us.”
New Zealand’s team news
Both sides have injury concerns going into the game but a massive blow to the Black Caps was the news on Friday that Matt Henry is out of the World Cup.
The seamer picked up a hamstring injury in the defeat to the Proteas in Pune and will be replaced in the squad by Kyle Jamieson.
“Matt’s been a crucial part of our one-day side for a long time and to see him ruled out as we reach the business end of this tournament is immensely disappointing,” coach Gary Stead said.
“We’re fortunate to have a player of the class of Kyle waiting in the wings.
“Kyle’s had to work really hard to return from two separate back injuries and I know he’s really excited about being involved in his first ODI World Cup.”
Pakistan’s team news
Pakistan are still sweating on the fitness of Shadab Khan following a concussion sustained in the defeat by South Africa last week.
The allrounder’s head struck the floor when falling and although passing a preliminary test his participation remains unclear given he missed training.”The latest update is Shadab went through a preliminary test today, which you’ve got to do as per medical protocol,” Arthur said.
“He came through that OK, but we’re in no position yet to make a decision on him.
Concussion is a really important injury, and we’ve got to be 100 percent sure before we make a decision.”
Head to head
Pakistan have the upper hand when it comes to one-day international clashes with New Zealand, winning 60 of their 115 matches.
New Zealand won 51 times, while one match was tied and three ended as “no result”.