Zimbabwean’s poor run continued as they had to face yet another series defeat as they lost 2-0 in the T20 series against Pakistan. Now the focus has shifted to the ODIs and first of the 3 will be played at Harare on Tuesday, 27th August. It was expected that Zimbabwe will win at least a single ODI in the series against India in July but that never happened and the minnows had a humiliating series against the World Champs. The tables didn’t turned for them in the T20 series against Pakistan but the bright aspect was that the Zimbabweans put up a considerably good show both with the ball and bat. Now they will be looking to convert this good effort into some victory as they’ll take the field in the first ODI against Pakistan.
Their top order has to click if they have to pose a challenge for the Pakistanis who haven’t been consistent but still are a very good ODI side. In T20s, the Zimbabwe batsmen couldn’t pace their innings properly and in the end they fell short of the target with almost half of their batting line still to bat. They’ll certainly have to address this issue in the ODIs. Furthermore, if there is a big knock due on someone for Zimbabwe then it’s due on their captain Brendan Taylor. He has been performing poorly since the series against India but it’s now time for him to get some rhythm back and the opportunity is standing right in front of him.
The only batsman for Zimbabwe who showed some resistance against India was Sikandar Raza but he couldn’t get a chance in the T20s and is expected to make it to the final XI in the first ODI. He can play both in top order as well as in the middle order and will have to show his guts to the opponent.
The weakest link for the minnows is their bowling attack. Though they have some quality spinning options in the form of Prosper Utseya and Sean Williams but with the medium pacers they are certainly lacking something. Shingi Masakadza, Tendai Chatara and Brian Vitori will certainly have to come up with something special if they have to challenge the strong Pakistani batting line.
Pakistan are no doubt the better of the two sides. They have strength in their batting as well as in their bowling and will certainly look to outsmart the weaker opponent as they move into the 1st ODI. Ahamad Shahzad and Mohammad Hafeez were very special in the 2nd T20 and similar sort of stuff will be expected from them in the 1st ODI on Tuesday. Some promising youngsters are also included in the ODI squad in the form of Harris Sohail Umar Amin and Anwar Ali. Harris Sohail didn’t get a chance in the T20s and is expecting his turn on 27th. Asad Shafiq and Misbah-ul-Haq are considered to be the strongest prospects in middle order in cricket world and the Zimbabwean bowlers will have to fight hard for their wickets for sure.
It’s time for Pakistan to rest some of their experienced campaigners and give an opportunity to the youngsters to show their mettle. Similar thing was done in the 2nd T20 by resting Mohammad Irfan and Saeed Ajmal and same is expected tomorrow as well.