Pallekele: New Zealand skipper Ross Taylor hoped his batsmen counter Pakistan's spin threat in the group D cracker at Pallekele stadium on Sunday. New Zealand thumped Bangladesh by 59 runs in their opening match on Friday on the back of a Twenty20 record score of 123 by Brendon McCullum in a match they faced three left-arm spinners as well.
But Pakistan pose a far greater threat as they have the top three wicket takers in all Twenty20 cricket with Saeed Ajmal (60 wickets), Umar Gul (59) and Shahid Afridi (59). To add to Ajmal and Afridi they also have skipper Mohammad Hafeez and rookie left-armer Raza Hasan, meaning New Zealand may well have to play 16 overs of spin.
But Taylor said the momentum gained from the victory over Bangladesh could be invaluable.
"Hafeez and Ajmal have got very good records in the last 12-18 months. We have had an insight into the wicket and the confidence from the way we played on Friday, we'll hopefully take that also," said the New Zealand skipper.
"We have prepared really well and I am sure we'll do the same against Pakistan."
New Zealand have happy memories of the Pallekele stadium where they beat Pakistan by a 110-run margin in the 50-over World Cup last year, with Taylor notching a career best 131 not out.
"I am not sure (whether this venue suits NZ more). It didn't spin as much as we thought it might. When you play a second time on it, it could probably spin a little bit more. We'll have to wait and see," said Taylor.
"Pakistan are a lot more experienced than Bangladesh. They've played very well in the last 12-18 months. They've got world-class players but hopefully we can get the better of them come the next match."
After blowing hot and cold in the warm-up matches where they beat arch-rivals India but lost to England, Pakistan captain Hafeez said his team was ready for the serious business.
"We tried out various combinations in the warm-up matches and now we are ready for the big event," Hafeez said. "I am satisfied with the preparation of the team and we are ready for the big challenge."
Hafeez played down the hype around his spin quartet.
"We know conditions here suit seamers so we are not going to rely on our spinners alone," Hafeez said. "We also have good seamers led by Gul so we will have a balanced combination for a winning start."
The top two teams from each of the four groups will qualify for the Super Eight rounds. Defending champions England and India have already qualified for the next round from group A. Hosts Sri Lanka and South Africa have also progressed from group C.