New Zealand’s cricket team has suffered a major setback ahead of the remaining matches against Pakistan in their five-match T20I series as skipper Kane Williamson has been ruled out due to a hamstring injury. Williamson experienced tightness in his right hamstring during New Zealand’s batting in the first innings of the second T20I against Pakistan and retired hurt while batting on 26 off 15. The 33-year-old was supposed to rest during the third T20I but has now been ruled out of the remainder of the series, as confirmed by head coach Gary Stead. Tim Seifert will replace Williamson for the remaining matches of the series.
Williamson has been struggling with injuries for quite some time now. In the first match of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023, he tore his anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) and was sidelined for six to seven months. After a long wait, the Kiwi skipper made his return at the ICC World Cup 2023, but during the match against Bangladesh, he broke his thumb during batting and went on to miss four matches.
The Black Caps lead the five-match series 2-0, and a win in Dunedin on January 17 can see them win it. The Kiwis defeated Pakistan by 46 runs in the first T20I in Auckland and recorded a comfortable 21-run win in the second match in Hamilton on Sunday. The Green Shirts, under Shaheen Shah Afridi‘s leadership, have been struggling to make runs as their middle order has now failed for two consecutive matches, and they are in dire need of answers as a loss in Dunedin would see the left-armer failing in his first assignment as the captain.
The remaining schedule of matches is as follows: 3rd T20 – 17 January 2024 at University Oval, Dunedin; 4th T20 – 19 January 2024 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch; 5th T20 – 21 January 2024 at Hagley Oval, Christchurch. Williamson’s absence is a significant blow to New Zealand’s chances of winning the series, but the team will be looking to continue their winning momentum and secure a series victory against Pakistan. The Green Shirts, on the other hand, will be hoping to bounce back and put up a strong performance in the remaining matches to avoid a series defeat.