Kane Williamson rates Pakistan's T20 World Cup chances after New Zealand defeat

Kane Williamson has rated Pakistan’s chances of winning the T20 World Cup after they began their campaign with impressive victories over India and his New Zealand team.

Pakistan secured their first World Cup win over arch-rivals India on Sunday, thrashing Virat Kohli’s side by 10 wickets in Dubai.

Babar Azam’s team made it two wins from two on Tuesday, clinching a five-wicket win over New Zealand in Sharjah.

With group fixtures against Afghanistan, Namibia and Scotland to come, Pakistan look set to reach the semi-finals of the T20 World Cup and Williamson says they are the ‘ones to watch’.

‘It is very disappointing,’ Williamson said after New Zealand made a losing start to their World Cup campaign.

‘We were optimistic at the halfway stage and a lot of thought went into what we would be coming up against from this strong Pakistan side.

‘It’s a tough one to swallow but they’re a really strong side and they’re ones to watch.’

Former England spinner Alex Hartley, meanwhile, believes Pakistan are the ‘team to beat’ following their opening two wins.

She told BBC Test Match Special: ‘New Zealand were 15 to 20 runs shy. If they’d got 150, it would have been a real struggle for Pakistan but because it was a low total, they didn’t have to take any risks.

‘This result opens up the group and you never know what could happen. Pakistan look like the team to beat.’

Pakistan restricted New Zealand to 134-8 with Haris Rauf starring with the ball, taking 4-22 from his four overs.

Babar’s side slipped to 87-5 in the 15th over of their chase but experienced duo Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali saw Pakistan home with eight balls remaining.

‘It’s always good to win, we’ll take this confidence forward in the tournament,’ Babar said. ‘I think we gave them 10 runs too many, but that can happen.

‘We lost wickets early, but I want to give credit to Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali. Every game is crucial.’

Pakistan face Afghanistan on Friday, while New Zealand will look to record their first win of the tournament on Sunday against India.

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