Pak vs NZ: Pindi pitches to favour batters

Four surfaces have been laid for the Pakistan vs New Zealand matches that will be hosted by Pindi Stadium

An overview of the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. — Twitter/@TheRealPCB
An overview of the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. — Twitter/@TheRealPCB

RAWALPINDI: Pitch curators have started giving final touches to the pitches as the white-ball matches between Pakistan and New Zealand will now shift to Pindi Stadium with the fourth T20I on Thursday.

A total of four surfaces have been laid for the four internationals to be hosted by the Pindi Stadium, The News reported Tuesday.

It should be noted that the International Cricket Council (ICC) — in December last year —  awarded another demerit point to the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium for a “below average” rating; however, the situation has now changed as the venue has offered sensational power-hitting opportunities to local and international cricketers in the recent past. 

Even Test cricket has produced sixes galore with the opening day of Pakistan-England's recent Test witnessing record 500 runs. The same turned out to be the case during the eighth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL) where chasing over 240-run winning targets in 20 overs was made possible. 

When there is no grass on Pindi Stadium’s wicket the surface produces exceptional run-scoring opportunities for the batters as the ball touches the bat with the expected pace and at a proper height.

Things will be no different this time around, especially in the two remaining T20Is against New Zealand. 

Speaking to the publication, Head Curator Sarfraz Ahmad said: “We have prepared different pitches for the four matches scheduled to be played at the Pindi Stadium during the next 12 days. 

"Pindi’s pitches always offer attraction to the bowlers having exceptional qualities. Even when there is no grass on the wicket, the bowler who bends his back and bowls with a quick pace can get something out of the wicket."

He believes that the wicket for the two T20Is will be batting-friendly but that does not mean that the bowler could not get anything out of the wicket. The bowler who has wicket-taking ability can make his mark too. 

"But the pitch during the T20I matches will be more or less the same that was available during the PSL matches in March,” Ahmad said.

He further added that the majority of the fans turning up for the T20Is want to watch big hits and fluent drives. 

“Keeping in view the interest of cricket fans, T20 wickets should be more inclined toward the batter. The surfaces are being curated keeping in mind that aspect,” he added.

Pindi Stadium will also host the first of the two ODIs of the five-match series.

“For the one-day series obviously efforts are to prepare supporting tracks for the first two matches. A bit of grass possibly will be there for the first two ODI matches. A true fast bowler could exploit the thinnest of grass. Yet, the pitch will also be suitable for stroke play. These pitches will be high-scoring ones,” he said.

Meanwhile, the crowd in Rawalpindi and Islamabad has been left guessing on April 20 match. 

“We are not sure as to who will be watching the fourth T20I on ‘Chand Raat’. Depending on the moon sighting, Friday could be Eid ul Fitr. But we would pray otherwise. We expect Eid will fall on Saturday so that people can fully enjoy the fourth T20I,” Faisal Suleman, a leading club cricketer, said.