ODI action is back as Pakistan hosts Zimbabwe in the first of three ODIs in Rawalpindi on Friday. Pakistan is gearing up for the 2023 World Cup qualification in the Super League ODI tournament with the three-match One-day series against Zimbabwe.
The last time Rawalpindi hosted an ODI match, it was way back in 2006 when Pakistan and West Indies were scheduled to play but it was abandoned. The full complete match was between Pakistan and India in 2006, where India won the match by 7 wickets. Since then, Rawalpindi did not host any international match until 2019, where it hosted the first Test match between Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the first Test match in Pakistan in ten years. Just like that, after 14 years, Rawalpindi will host its first ODI match.
As a part of ICC Men’s World Cup Super League, this series will play an important role for both sides. Pakistan will be looking to start fresh and that too under the new ODI captain Babar Azam. Babar will become Pakistan’s 30th ODI captain, succeeding Sarfraz Ahmed.
Pakistan are the clear favourites, but they will need to be wary of a Zimbabwe side who have a lot of experience in their middle order.
Date: October 31, 2020
Timing: 12:00 PM PKT
Venue: Rawalpindi, Pakistan
Weather: It’s dry and sunny day tomorrow at Rawalpindi and there is no chance of any interruption. Early start also means that no dew at night, meaning chasing can become a slight difficult.
Conditions / Pitch Report: The pitch has a hint of grass, so seamers could find themselves enjoying in the game.
Head to Head:
Matches: 59 | Pakistan: 52 | Zimbabwe: 4 | Tied: 1 | No Result: 2
Pakistan: W W W W W (completed matches, most recent first)
Zimbabwe: L L L L L
Pakistan’s playing XI is hard to predict because they have not played ODI cricket since October 2019. Pakistan will hope for their captain Babar Azam to lead from the front, with the likes of Abid Ali and Shaheen Afridi also expected to play key roles in the series.
There is a possibility that Pakistan may play a full-strength squad. Faheem Ashraf will likely make his ODI comeback. Usman Qadir, in absence of Shadab Khan, will likely to make his debut tomorrow.
Pakistan’s Probable XI:
1. Imam-ul-Haq, 2. Fakhar Zaman, 3. Babar Azam (c), 4. Haris Sohail, 5. Mohammad Rizwan (wk), 6. Iftikhar Ahmed, 7. Imad Wasim, 8. Faheem Ashraf, 9. Wahab Riaz, 10. Usman Qadir, 11. Shaheen Afridi
Zimbabwe are also playing an ODI match after almost seven months. They last played an ODI series against Bangladesh earlier this March, where they lost 3-0.
In the 2018 series, Zimbabwe were trashed by Pakistan for fun. There was no fight shown by the players as Pakistan were too good for them to handle. But they will welcome back Sean Williams, Sikander Raza and most importantly, Brendon Taylor. This will be a much better and stronger side they will play against Pakistan tomorrow.
Zimbabwe’s Probable XI:
1. Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, 2. Chamu Chibhabha (c), 3. Craig Ervine, 4. Brendan Taylor (wk), 5. Sean Williams, 6.Elton Chigumbura, 7. Sikandar Raza, 8. Wellington Masakadza, 9. Carl Mumba, 10. Donald Tiripano, 11. Blessing Muzarabani
Players to watch:
1. Fakhar Zaman – Batsman, Pakistan
Fakhar enjoyed batting against Zimbabwe the last time they played. Many records were broken at that time. He became the first Pakistan batsman to score a double century, scored most runs in a five-match ODI series (515), became the fastest batsman to score 1,000 ODI runs (18 innings). He will be looking to go out and play another big innings again against them.
2. Brendon Taylor – Batsman, Zimbabwe
Brendon Taylor is Zimbabwe’s third highest ODI run scorer with 6,326 runs. In the last series against Pakistan, he was not present due to his Kolpak deal. His return will help Zimbabwe to have a strong start in batting.
3. Shaheen Afridi – Bowler, Pakistan
19 ODIs, 40 wickets at an average of 21.17. That is how great Shaheen been. Last year, he was Pakistan’s second highest wicket-taker in the 2019 with 16 and was rested for the Sri Lanka series afterwards. He has been in a terrific form recently as he picked 20 wickets in the National T20 Cup, leading the bowlings chart. If there is one fast bowler Zimbabwe they need to be vary of, it’s Shaheen and his threat.
3. Sean Williams – All-Rounder, Zimbabwe
Williams wasn’t the part of 2018 squad. But the all rounder will return for the series. 3,761 runs and 71 wickets, he will be needed his experience to beat Pakistan.
Stats and Travia:
- Tendai Chatara is five scalps away from 100 ODI wickets and stands to be the sixth Zimbabwe bowler to achieve this feat.
- Brendon Taylor is just one hit away to complete his 100 ODI sixes. Only Chigumbura has more with 105.
- Babar Azam will be Pakistan’s 30th ODI captain. He will succeed Sarfraz Ahmed.
“This time around the competition will be good; they have brought in experienced players and you will see different cricket. We will try to dominate and play according to our strengths and try and get a clean sweep,” said Babar Azam
“We’ve been a team that doesn’t really quite get over the line, and it’s something that we’ve talked about. There’s a lot more desperation to win. And that is the mentality at the moment. And considering it’s super league games, each game that we play is going to be very crucial for us,” said Chamu Chibhabha.