Looking how the One Day International series went between the two sides, the T20I was expected to be the same. However, Pakistan just walked over Zimbabwe without any fuss. Their batsmen just simply scored for fun without feeling any threat from the Zimbabwean bowlers.
The pitch of Rawalpindi showed both spin and some swing, also being a very good strip to bat on as well. It was all about how the team will play. Zimbabwe batted first all three times this series, with them choosing the decision twice. However, they just couldn’t be competitive enough to give Pakistan a tough time. In the end, they ended their tour with one win from five games.
Pakistan batsmen were on song this whole T20I series. The batsmen averaged 53 per wicket. They chased the total down without any troubles. Their bowlers were ok too. Usman Qadir was simply brilliant in his first international series. Haris Rauf was great too. Other bowlers chipped in.
But the question that comes is their fielding. Pakistan dropped few catches and their fielding was sloppy. They had some moments but these little things will matter.
Taking a look little closer, we start off in bowling. The pacers were good and Haris was great. The young bowlers did fine but sometimes ended up bowling a little too loose. But the importance of the series was how Pakistan would bowl in the middle-overs. This is exactly what Usman Qadir did. His first outing was just OK, picking a solitary wicket while going 8 per three overs. However, as the series progress, so did his bowling improved. He went on to pick 3-23 and 4-13 to end up as series’ highest wicket-taker.
The control he gave Pakistan in the middle-overs was very important. It was something that Pakistan have been missing in the white ball cricket. In all this, Pakistan’s death bowling end up being another factor. The pacers needs to understand the value of death bowling and need to try to bowl more yorkers in the back end of the innings.
The weak link
There isn’t much need to talk about Pakistan’s batting this series. However, there is someone who wants to be in the spotlight. Fakhar Zaman, the leading run-scorer of the National T20 Cup, managed only 45 runs at an average of 15. That’s not all. In his last 17 international T20 innings, Fakhar have scored only 192 runs and averages 11.29. Does Fakhar deserve to be in the Twenty 20 side? This is something for him understand where he needs to be right now. Perhaps a change of technique and how he approaches the bowlers.
Pakistan’s best batsmen have been Babar Azam and Haider Ali. Babar scored 133 runs in two innings he played, averaging 66.5 with two half-centuries. Haider was impressive as well, scoring 100 at an average of 50 which includes his second twenty20 international fifty.
Usman Qadir and Haris Rauf were Pakistan’s best bowlers. Qadir was more impressive, with 8-60 in eleven overs he bowled in the series, resulting him the Player of the Series award.
They wanted to end the tour on high and give their all-rounder Elton Chingumbura a memorable last match. However, unlike the ODI series, Zimbabwe were just not competitive enough. Apart from Wesley Madhevere, their batsmen could not really stand up. Their bowlers were just not threatening enough to panic Pakistan batsmen.
In the first T20I match, they played better and put on a competitive total of 156. The pitch was little tricky, showed some uneven bounce throughout the match. However, Pakistan played as if there wasn’t any signs of the devils on the pitch and walked over the tourists. The bowlers did not impressed their side in taking early wickets.
As the series progresses, their final total decreased. In the next two games, they put on 134 and then 129. And their bowlers taking only four wickets across two matches as compare to four in the first match. They also misfielded at some part of the match that will question their fielding standards.
End of Chingumbura
Elton Chingumbura, Zimbabwe’s fine all-rounder, played his last international series. He bowled out with 283 international matches, scoring 6,856 international runs with the best of 117 and 136 international wickets with the best of 5-54.
Chingumbura was the part of 2007 World Cup squad and led Zimbabwe to 2011 and 2015 World Cups. Though as a captain in those tournaments, Zimbabwe managed only three wins out of twelve matches.
He played two big roles in Zimbabwe’s surprise wins. In 2007, he picked 3-25 and scored 38 in Zimbabwe’s 30 runs victory. Another major performance was a big one for his side. In the 2014 tri-series with Australia and South Africa, he scored 52* against Australia in his side’s three wickets victory. It was Zimbabwe’s first win against Australia in 32 years.
Zimbabwe will miss his service.
Wesley Madhevere was impressive for Zimbabwe in the whole T20I series. He was one of the three batsmen to score over 100 runs in the series and was the second highest run-scorer. He scored 103 runs at an average of 51.5 along with a single fifty.
Blessing Muzarabani was Zimbabwe’s best bowler once again, picking 4 wickets at an average of 18.
1st T20I: Pakistan (157-2) beat Zimbabwe (156-6) by 6 wickets
2nd T20I: Pakistan (137-2) beat Zimbabwe (134-7) by 8 wickets
3rd T20I: Pakistan (130-2) beat Zimbabwe (129-9) by 8 wickets
Pakistan (3-0) beat Zimbabwe in the three-match T20I series
Player of the series: Usman Qadir (Pakistan)