After a splendid show on the Caribbean land, Pakistan is now visiting Zimbabwe for the T20s, Tests and ODIs. The first T20 of the bilateral series between the two nations will be played on 23rd of August in Harare and will begin at 11:30 GMT. Pakistan will definitely be the favorites considering their recent form and the fact that they are certainly a more experienced and settled side than the Zimbabweans. But Zimbabwe are also suited to the shorter format of the game and can very well give us an upset victory on the day. This is certainly going to be an interesting encounter between the two teams.
Pakistani captain Mohammad Hafeez recently showed his flair in the Caribbean premier league where he seemed to have gained his rhythm back especially with the bat and will be a dangerous prospect for the opponents in the top order. Besides him, Nasir Jamshed and Ahmad Shahzad can also do a bit of damage and if both these get going then it will be hard for the Zimbabwean bowlers to stop them from hitting big and getting a big total.
Of late, Pakistan have introduced some of their youngsters in the international arena particulalrly in the T20 format including Umar Amin, Harris Sohail and Asad Ali. A new inclusion this time around will be Sohaib Maqsood who is known as a very talented player in the domestic circuit. He is a stable batsman in the middle order and can roll his arm over with the ball as well. He’ll be looking to pounce on this opportunity and show the critics the reason of his selection.
Anwar Ali, who has played just 1 T20 at international level back in 2008 and that too against Zimbabwe, will be making his come back to the international circuit and after lots of hard work he’ll be looking to not let go this chance. Besides, Pakistani bowling line will be a deadly one for the Zimbabweans considering Mohammad Irfan, Junaid Khan, Zulfiqar Babar, Shahid Afrdi and Saeed Ajmal. The captain will have lots of bowling options available so it’s not a case of getting afraid on the bowling front for Mohammad Hafeez.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, are the minnows of the game but they will be looking to capitalize on their strengths and give the visitors some tough time and hard work to do in the field. They have got players that can be dangerous with the bat especially in the T20s. Their captain Brendan Taylor is a clear example of that. With 4 fifties in just 21 T20Is and a strike rate of 123.16, he can be disastrous on his day for any opposition. He has led his side to upset victories in the past and the team will be expecting the same from him again.
Besides the captain, players like Vusi Sibanda and Shingi Masakadza will be of prime importance for the Zimbabweans in this first T20. Their batting capabilities will be much needed if Zimbabwe have to make some impact over the visitors. Another bright prospect for Zimbabwe is Sikandar Raza who has already shown some of his flair against India in the recently held ODI series between India and Zimababwe. Zimbabwean bowling seems to be a weak link for them but some players like Brian Vitori, Prosper Utseya, Tendai Chatara and Panyangara will be the real hope for the Zimbabweans with the ball.