New Zealand and Pakistan are set to return to Zayed Cricket Stadium for the final tournament of the Black Caps’ tour of the UAE, as the opening match of the Oye Hoye Cup 2018 Pakistan vs. New Zealand Test Series presented by Brighto Paint, takes place here in Abu Dhabi.
After the T20I series concluded in a thrilling three-nil victory for Pakistan. New Zealand responded well in the ODIs, drawing the series after Sunday’s dramatic storm caused the third match of the series to be abandoned. The tourists will be looking to go one better in the upcoming three Test matches against Pakistan, with the first and last games being played at Zayed Cricket Stadium in the UAE’s capital.
The Pakistan Cricket Board and Abu Dhabi Sports Council have once again partnered to provide free entry to all spectators for all days of both Test matches. The first match will commence this Friday November 16th with play expected to run until Tuesday November 20th. The teams will return to Zayed Cricket Stadium for the final Test from Sunday December 3rd - Friday December 7th.
The Pakistan squad has been slightly altered for the upcoming series with big hitter Fakhar Zaman rested in favour of batsmen with more experience of five-day cricket. Meanwhile, the young and exciting pace bowler, Shaheen Afridi, will be making his Test cricket debut in Abu Dhabi, having bowled impressively across the three ODI games.
In promising news, Imam Ul-Haq, who was rested after being hit in the grill of his helmet by the ball during the second ODI, will be re-joining his teammates as an opener alongside veteran batsman Mohammed Hafeez.
Pace sensation Mohammed Abbas, who was instrumental in dismantling the Australian batting order in Pakistan’s October Test series against the Baggy Greens, will be returning to the pitch to bring his expertise with the ball to the New Zealand batsmen.
New Zealand has also made some changes to their squad ahead of the coin toss on Friday morning, with the batsmen Tom Blundell, BJ Watling and Jeet Raval being brought into the team.
Although paceman Lockie Ferguson knocked the bails off the stumps three times during New Zealand’s last visit to Abu Dhabi, he will not be included in the Test squad, with fast-medium left hander Neil Wagner and right-hand off-break spinner William Somerville coming in to bring some spice to the Black Caps’ bowling attack.
With the first and third tests being played in Abu Dhabi, and the second being hosted in Dubai, cricket fans can look forward to an exciting series between two perfectly poised teams. Although the conditions may favour the Pakistanis, New Zealand’s status as the world’s fourth best Test team will give them a certain confidence as they face Pakistan, who is ranked by the ICC as the seventh best globally.
Both teams are busy preparing at the world-class facilities at Zayed Cricket Stadium, which also caters to training for a variety of sports in the nation’s capital.
With this Test series being the final international cricket competition of the season, organisers at Abu Dhabi Cricket are calling on cricket lovers across the UAE to make their way to Zayed Cricket Stadium in the capital and see these two international cricketing titans battle it out for dominance in the long-form of the game. Entry is free to all spectators and gates open at 9am with play commencing at 10am.
1ST TEST: Friday November 16th - Tuesday November 20th
3RD TEST: Sunday December 3rd - Friday December 7th