Pakistan five match series look to re-establish ODI credentials

Pakistan five match series

It has been close to six months since Pakistan played a One-Day International and the upcoming Pakistan five-match series against Zimbabwe provides them an opportunity to improve their ODI credentials and iron out the chinks in the months leading up to the World Cup in 2019. For Zimbabwe, who missed the World Cup bus after a heart-breaking loss to UAE that resulted in a third-place finish in the Qualifiers event at home, it is a chance for a fresh start with an eye on the future.

Since their Champions Trophy triumph in June 2017, Pakistan have played only two ODI series with mixed results. Having drubbed Sri Lanka 5-0 in UAE in October, Pakistan travelled to New Zealand where they were handed a whitewash by the hosts in the five-match series. Having slipped to the sixth spot at the time of the annual update of the rankings, Australia’s hammering at the hands of England helped Sarfraz Ahmed’s side move up a spot. However, for them to retain the position, nothing less than a 4-1 series win against Zimbabwe would suffice.

Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali (who was included in the ODI squad to strengthen the lower-middle order) were all among the runs in the T20I tri-series, which bodes well for Pakistan. Although they haven’t played an ODI in a while, the time in the middle during the T20Is will give them some confidence heading into the 50-over format. With plenty of all-round options and a quality bowling attack, Pakistan have all bases covered and they’ll be keen put the strength of the squad to good use.

Read: England Vs India: Two stellar batting line-ups go toe to toe

The hosts, meanwhile, have been set back by key personnel missing from the line-up. The impasse between the board and the top players seems to be unresolved with Brendan Taylor, Sikandar Raza, Graeme Cremer, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine missing from the line-up announced on Wednesday. Zimbabwe have also been hard done by injuries to Solomon Mire and Kyle Jarvis, leaving them with a depleted squad for the ODI series. Attempting to a carve a new direction for their ODI future in this kind of backdrop isn’t ideal but they’ll be looking to put their best foot forward nevertheless.

When: Friday, July 13, 2018, at 9:15 AM Local Time

Where: Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo

What to expect: The teams will be welcomed by chilly conditions in the morning, with the temperature expected to reach a high of 21 degree Celsius later in the day. The venue hosted four Qualifier games in March, with a 300-plus score being achieved only once.

Team news:

Zimbabwe: Several factors have colluded in Zimbabwe having had to go in with a depleted squad for this series. Liam Roche, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Ryan Murray are three uncapped players in the 16-member line-up, which is being led by Hamilton Masakadza.

Pakistan: While the return of Yasir Shah and Junaid Khan will boost the already impressive Pakistan bowling line-up, it will also give the think-tank some selection headaches.

Did you know?

– Shoaib Malik needs 25 runs to become the eighth Pakistan player with 7000 runs in ODI cricket. He’s also set to become the fifth fastest Pakistan player to the milestone.

– If Junaid Khan picks up three wickets in this match, he’ll become the joint fifth quickest Pakistan bowler to reach the mark of 100 ODI wickets along with Umar Gul.

– Zimbabwe have won only three of the 21 ODIs played against Pakistan at home, along with one tie and one no result.


Zimbabwe: Hamilton Masakadza (c), Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Ryan Murray, Peter Moor (wk), Tarisai Musakanda, Blessing Muzarabani, Liam Nicholas Roche, Malcolm Waller, Brian Chari, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Tendai Chatara, Wellington Masakadza, Richard Ngarava, Donald Tiripano.

Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Haris Sohail.


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