Pakistan faces New Zealand Friday in the most important T20 international cricket match of the year so far, and fans can watch what is sure to be a tightly contested contest live online for free as the two evenly matched nations battle for crucial world rankings points going into the T20 Cricket World Cup in March.
Ahead of the third and final match of their head-to-head series, Pakistan and New Zealand are tied with 114 points on the ICC T20 rankings table — just as they are tied at one match each in the three-match series.
After a stunning 16-run victory by visiting Pakistan in the series opener January 14, New Zealand came back just three days later with a stunner of their own, claiming a 10-wicket win on the strength of a remarkable 171-run partnership by openers Martin Guptill and Kane Williamson.
The dynamic Black Caps batting duo methodically hunted down Pakistan’s solid first innings total of 168 for seven, needing no more than 18 overs to get the job done.
Guptill tallied 87 while Williamson racked up 72 as the pair shredded the normally intimidating Pakistan bowling attack, smashing Mohammad Amir for 34 in just three overs. Bowling the maximum four overs each, Captain Shahid Afridi, Imad Wasim, and Wahab Riaz coughed up 38, 32, and 30 respectively.
“We didn’t bowl well in the first six overs and that set the tone for the Kiwis to score freely,” Afridi said after the match. “Both (Umar) Gul and Amir are making their comebacks but they are experienced and we were expecting a better showing.”
Afridi said to expect changes in the team’s approach to attacking the New Zealand batsmen in the final T20 International contest.
Watch highlights of the second Pakistan-New Zealand T20 in the video below.
To find out how to watch the third New Zealand vs. Pakistan T20 International match live online for free and legally, see the streaming link in the final paragraph of this article. First ball is scheduled for 7 p.m. local time at Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, on Friday, January 22. For United States-based cricket fans, that start time translates as 1 a.m. Eastern Time, 10 p.m. on Thursday, January 21, in the Pacific Time Zone.
Though Friday’s match will be the final chance for New Zealand to play T20 cricket before the T20 World Cup, which opens for the Black Caps on March 15, Pakistan plays its first match of the World T20 the following day. But the Men in Green will have another opportunity to sharpen their T20 game when they take part in the Asia Cup from February 24 to March 6.
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Getting his team lined up for the World Cup is certainly a concern for Afridi, who now has seen his Pakistan T20 side drop four of its last five matches, after suffering a three-match sweep by England when the teams met in the United Arab Emirates last November.
New Zealand has played only eight T20 matches since the beginning of last year, compared to 12 for Pakistan. But the Black Caps have won five of those eight.
To watch the third and series-deciding New Zealand vs Pakistan T20 international cricket match from Westpac Stadium in Wellington, New Zealand, live online for free and legally, go to ESPN3, the online-only channel in the ESPN network, which will carry the game live at this link. ESPN3 will also carry the three ODI matches on the Pakistan tour of New Zealand following the conclusion of the T20 series. The streaming sports channel is free to customers of most major internet service providers and many minor ISPs as well. For a full list, check this link.
[All Photos By Hannah Peters / Getty Images]