Surviving the ravages of the Coronavirus pandemic, the world is gradually coming back to life. Not that there are any exceptions to it, but if there is one industry that took the beating of the pandemic in the most calamitous ways, it was the one of sport. Although, some fiscal compulsions entwined with the avarice of sports fanatics to get live sports back in their lives, led the best in the business to ponder and deliberate over ways of resurrecting it, and they have done a commendable job in doing that.
International cricket found its way back after some heroic efforts of the England Cricket Board (ECB) that successfully hosted multiple teams in different formats and resumed normalcy in the game. A cricket-bereft nation of Pakistan, which has anyway missed hosting cricket in the last decade due to another pandemic (read terrorism), would be keen to kick start their journey to the 2023 World Cup as they host Zimbabwe for a three-match ODI series starting from 30th October 2020 at Rawalpindi.
The first ODI – earmarked as the resumption of ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League, and the beginning of Babar Azam’s reign, who was appointed as the skipper by the Pakistan Cricket Board earlier this year, will be Pakistan’s first ODI at home since October 2019 when they clashed against Sri Lanka in Karachi. With crucial Super League points on offer, both the teams must be aware of the context that series brings to offer.
Visiting this time, Zimbabwe must be itching to better their abysmal record while playing in Pakistan, as after 19 ODIs versus the hosts in their backyard, they have only a solitary win to show. There is little doubt about why the Men in Green will start as overwhelming favourites, as even the overall record heavily favours Pakistan, who have ended victorious 52 times out of the total 59 meetings between these teams.
If memories stretch as far, last Zimbabwe played an ODI in Pakistan was long back in 2015, whereas the last meeting of the two teams in the 50-over format was in 2018 when the roles were reversed. Zimbabwe had nothing to show as they were crushed and whitewashed back in the day and put up a dismal show in the series by getting dismissed for sub-200 totals as many as four times in the five fixtures.
Though, plenty has changed for both the teams ever since as while it was Sarfaraz Ahmed who was leading Pakistan then, it was Sean Williams leading the side for Zimbabwe. With changed leadership and some fresh faces on both sides, both the teams will be keen to start their run on a good note.
Pitch and conditions
The series, in its entirety, will be played in Rawalpindi. Though the venue hosted a Test match earlier this year when Pakistan hosted Bangladesh, this will be the first ODI at Rawalpindi since 2006. The track is expected to offer an even contest between the bat and the ball. With winter arriving in the subcontinent, there might be a slight bit of dew towards the end of the game.
Playing combinations for PAK vs ZIM
Although Pakistan still possesses the likes of Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, and Wahab Riaz, they are missing some seasoned campaigners such as Sarfaraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, and Mohammad Amir, and the selectors have given a chance to some young guns like Abdullah Shafique and Haider Ali.
It will be interesting to see whether the team management will give pick the young blood ahead of the veterans. In the absence of Sarfaraz Ahmed, the duties with the gloves will once again be in the hands of Mohammad Rizwan, who had a good time with both bat and gloves in England. Shaheen Shah Afridi was in blistering form in the National T20 Cup and would want to emulate the same performance in the international jersey.
Probabale XI-Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (C), Abid Ali, Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan (WK), Imad Wasim, Usman Qadir, Shaheen Afridi, Wahab Riaz, Haris Rauf.
Much like their opponents, Zimbabwe, too, has a new skipper in 34-year-old all-rounder Chamu Chibhabha. The team has been out of action for a long, and they will have shrug off some rust when they step out tomorrow. The Men in Red must be excited by the inclusion of the tall pacer Blessing Muzarabani, who left to play for Northamptonshire.
The Zimbabwean unit has a good blend of youth and experience as apart from their regulars in Sean Williams, Brendan Taylor, Elton Chigumbura, and Sikandar Raza, they have some thrilling young ones in Faraz Akram, Milton Shumba, and Roy Kaia. Tendai Chatara and Donald Tiripano will lead their pace attack.
Probable XI- Brendan Taylor (WK), Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Craig Ervine, Elton Chigumbura, Chamu Chibhabha (C), Brian Chari, Ryan Burl, Tendai Chatara, Carl Mumba, Donald Tiripano.
PAK vs ZIM Head to Head
Played- 59 | Pak won- 52 | Zim won- 4 | NR- 2 | Tie- 1
PAK vs ZIM Broadcast details
Match Timings- 12:30 PM (IST), 12:00 PM (Local).
TV– Sony Six, Sony ESPN
Live Streaming– SonyLIV
Source: The source of this content is our cricket news platform Crictracker.
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