After a demoralising loss (by 131 runs) in the first ODI on Thursday, Elton Chigumbura’s Zimbabwe face an uphill task to find a favourable result on Saturday and stay alive in the three-match ODI series.
Yasir Shah stole the show with six wickets, giving up just 26 runs in nine overs, but all of Pakistan’s spinners impressed on Thursday.
The Zimbabwe batsmen could not cope on a dry pitch that offering plenty of assistance to the sinners, with only Sean Williams (26) and skipper Elton Chigumbura (22) hitting scores in the twenties. They made the quarterfinals of the World Cup, but never really looked like threatening for the title, losing to India, West Indies and Australia along the way.
Earlier, batting first, the Pakistan team had been pegged back by triple strikes from Chamu Chibhabha (3/18), but recovered in the middle overs on strength of Shoaib Malik’s 24-ball 35 and a late partnership between Mohammad Rizwan (33 off 32 balls) and Imad Wasim (19 off 12 balls). Rizwan remained unbeaten on profession-greatest seventy five.
Later on, three One-day worldwide matches between the two sides will be played on October 1, 3 and 5 at the same venue. Ali will slot straight into the opening position, while the Twenty20 matches will have given Pakistan a good idea of what sorts of combinations they will need to succeed.
Pakistan will make a few alterations to their squad after the T-20 series ahead of the ODI series, but Zimbabwe has named a 16-men squad that will participate in the two versions. He will partner legspinner Graeme Cremer, who was economical on the slow, low surface used during the Twenty20s.
Although Zimbabwe started the day looking short on energy, they sparked to life in the sixth over when John Nyumbu made up for a dropped catch by running out Pakistan captain Azhar Ali with a direct hit.
Zimbabwe coach Dav Whatmore believes his bowling and fielding departments have been up to the game, but the batting line-up has been the Chevrons let down in the T20 series having lost by 13 and 15 runs after restricting Pakistan to 136 on both occasions. He has played two innings so far scoring 15 in his first. Yet all 10 wickets fell to spin.