At the end of day two of the second Test, Pakistan’s performance against New Zealand has been underwhelming, to say the least. Their batting execution has been sub-par while the fielding has been abysmal.
Pakistan dropped Henry Nicholls twice and Kiwis skipper Kane Williamson once. The former is 11 runs short of a century, while the latter made his 24th ton.
It means the Kiwis trail by only 11 runs with seven wickets in hand. The men in green have to restrict the Blackcaps to as low a score as possible and then post a big total on the board.
Skipper and wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan will be key to Pakistan getting that big score. The 28-year-old has scored six half-centuries batting in the lower middle order.
Rizwan has scored two of them batting at six and four of them batting at seven (Howstat).
Additionally, all his fifties have come during a batting collapse, proving the right-hander is the perfect man in a crisis.
Rizwan can stabilise Pakistan batting order
The absence of Pakistan giants such as Babar Azam and Asad Shafiq provides the perfect opportunity to promote Rizwan up the order to increase stability higher up the XI.
So far, Rizwan has scored 578 runs at an average of 41.29 including those six half-centuries (Howstat). He has been more reliable than current top-order batsman Haris Sohail.
Sohail averages 33.28 in his 26 innings and has scored 832 runs. Not bad figures but the 31-year-old has failed to deliver on New Zealand soil so far having scored just nine runs in three innings (Howstat).
Promoting Rizwan would not only increase the chances of higher runs on the board but also ease mounting pressure on the lower order.
Pakistan must act quickly and make the necessary changes to save the match and turn the series before it’s too late.