While the majority of the cricketing community awaits the Qualifier action of the match between Sunrisers Hyderabad and Delhi Capitals, some few thousand kilometres away in Rawalpindi, another modest yet equally crunch contest between Pakistan and Zimbabwe prepares to take flight. The mighty T20 side of Pakistan ousted an insipid Zimbabwe outfit in the first game of the series where Babar Azam, the limited-overs skipper for Pakistan once again showed his batting masterclass which didn’t allow the Zimbabwe bowlers to stage any sort of comeback after posting a sub-par total of 156 whilst batting first.
Captain – Azhar Ali (Test), Sarfaraz Ahmend (ODI), Babar Azam (T20I)
Head Coach – Misbah-ul-Haq
Assistant Coach – Shahid Aslam
Representing – Pakistan
Team Colour – Green
Sponsorship – Pepsi, Brighto Paints, AJ Sports
The Pakistani cricket teams represents the country of Pakistan in international cricket matches in all the three formats of the game. The team regularly participates in series against other countries as well as representing the country in international competitions like the World Cup.
FULL NAME Pakistan Men’s National Cricket Team
NICK NAME Cornered Tigers, Men in Green, Green Shirts, Shaheens(Falcons)
GROUND National Cricket Stadium
TEAM OWNER (S)Pakistan Cricket Board
PROMINENT PLAYERSBabar Azam, Mohammad Amir, Imam-ul-Haq, Wahab Riaz, Fakhar Zaman
While the openers and the middle order failed to get going against the experienced bowling attack of Pakistan, it was youngster Wesley Madhavere who stroked a fluent 70 off 48 deliveries that allowed Zimbabwe to post a decent total. The target was never going to be a trouble for the Pakistani batsmen but some tight bowling ensured that the match went into the penultimate over of the match.
Pakistan has already won the ODI series but a gutsy Zimbabwe side showed in the third match that on its day, the team is capable of taking down the best in the business. The bowling hasn’t shabby either as experienced campaigners like Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara, Sikandar Raza along with all-rounder Sean Williams have managed to keep the Pakistani batsman on a leash. But it is Babar Azam who has been a thorn in Zimbabwe’s plan. The 26-year-old right-hand batsmen had started drawing similarities in terms of his batting style with Virat Kohli much earlier in his career but off late, Azam’s consistency is something that even Virat Kohli would be slightly envious of. Change the formats and Azam effortlessly metamorphoses his game, such is his compact technique and ability to mould himself into the requirements of the game.
Along with Babar, Pakistan’s batting will be dependent on youngsters like Haider Ali, Mohammad Rizwan and seasoned experienced campaigners such as Mohammed ‘Professor’ Hafeez who has time and again showed that he is one of the very few dependable cricketers in the Pakistani cricket setup. The opener Fakhar Zaman had a rare failure in the last match and he would be hoping to make quick amends. The pace battery of Wahab Riaz, Mohammad Hasnain and Haris Rauf performed in a collective manner in the last match and the team management will be hoping that they all can replicate a similar performance.
Zimbabwe would be desperate to keep the series alive and push it to the decider and therefore the toss plays a pivotal role in their quest of snatching an unlikely win from Pakistan. With the onset of winter in the subcontinent, one can expect dew to come during the second innings and thus Zimbabwe thinktank would be hoping and praying of winning the toss and fielding first. The openers will have to give a solid platform either way for the likes of big hitters such as Sikandar Raza and Elton Chigumbura to capitalize upon. If the visitors can manage to get their basics right as they did in the 3rd ODI then the Pakistani side could be put in a spot of bother. It goes without saying that Babar Azam is the mainstay of the Pakistani batting lineup and his wicket is the prized scalp that every single Zimbabwe bowler will be after.
Pakistan and consistency, the two words aren’t usually used in the same sentence and therefore this is Zimbabwe’s foot in the door moment. All they need to do is give some initial jolts to the Pakistani batting lineup and bring out its fragile middle-order.
A riveting contest coming right up your alley, can Zimbabwe produce another stellar display or will Pakistan seal the series in the second match itself? We’ll have to wait and watch! Don’t go anywhere, STAY TUNED, for the Toss update and the teamsheets are coming up shortly!