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The game will be played in right spirit: Kane Williamson ahead of New Zealand’s match vs Pakistan

Kane Wiliamson

Kane Wiliamson

This is New Zealand’s first game against the Babar Azam-led outfit following their infamous last-minute withdrawal from the Pakistan tour earlier this year due to a security threat.

New Zealand are set to kick-start their ICC Men’s T20 World Cup campaign against Pakistan on Tuesday at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium. This is New Zealand’s first game against the Babar Azam-led outfit following their infamous last-minute withdrawal from the Pakistan tour earlier this year due to a security threat.

Ahead of the much-anticipated match, Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson is hoping that the Pakistan squad will not hold any grudge against them for abandoning the tour. Needless to mention that Williamson was not part of the New Zealand squad in Pakistan.

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The 31-year-old also reckoned that the players from both teams have a very good relationship with each other.

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“I am sure the game will be played in the right spirit," Williamson said during the pre-match press conference.

The Blackcaps withdrawal due to security threats also prompted the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) to forfeit their men’s and women’s tours of Pakistan. ECB in their statement cited players’ physical and mental health as the reason behind their decision.

Following the incident, the newly appointed Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chief Ramiz Raja had then said that the Pak team has now added England and New Zealand to their target list for World Cup alongside India.

Williamson during his press meet also insisted that the decision to abandon the Pakistan tour was taken by the New Zealand government. He also praised the Pakistan team’s performance against India in their tournament opener, saying that they are one of the pre-favourites to lift the World Cup trophy.

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Riding on pacer Shaheen Afridi’s three-wicket haul and fifties from Mohammad Rizwan (79 not out) and Babar Azam (68 not out), Pakistan on Sunday hammered bitter rivals India by ten wickets in their tournament opener at Dubai International Stadium.

Following their emphatic win over India, Pakistan are comfortably sitting at the second spot in the Group 2 table with two points and an impressive run rate of +0.973.

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first published:October 26, 2021, 14:16 IST