ZIM vs PAK: 1st T20I, Preview- Depleted hosts run into top ranked Pakistan

ZIM vs PAK: 1st T20I, Preview- Depleted hosts run into top ranked Pakistan

Tarisai Musakanda is likely to make his debut in T20Is.

Pakistan
Pakistan. (Photo by Anthony Au-Yeung/Getty Images)

Zimbabwe and Pakistan will lock horns in the first match of the triangular T20I series, which gets underway tomorrow at the Harare Sports Club. Pakistan are the number one ranked team in T20Is and overhauling them won’t be a cakewalk for the hosts. Sarfraz Ahmed and his men locked horns with Scotland in the two-match T20I series and comfortably brushed them aside.

The Men in Green would be keen to keep their winning streak intact and continue their dominance in the format. On the contrary, the scenario of the Zimbabwean cricket team isn’t a pleasant one as a few of their key players in Brendan Taylor, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza and Craig Ervine earlier pulled out of the series owing to issues pertaining to salaries and match-fees.

Moreover, the political situation in the country isn’t a joyful one either by any stretch of the imagination. The General Elections are scheduled to take place on July 30 and a bomb explosion in President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s rally has sent shockwaves around the country. Meanwhile, their cricketing fraternity would be hoping for the series to be carried out without any undesired obstacle.

Team Combination

Hamilton Masakadza is the leader of the pack and he is also the most experienced batsman. Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha are the openers, while Masakadza will come in the middle order. Tarisai Musakanda will make his debut in T20Is. Chris Mpofu, Blessing Muzarabani, and Kyle Jarvis are the fast bowlers. The experience of Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbura will also be crucial.

Predicted XI

Zimbabwe

Brian Chari, Chamu Chibhabha, Tarisai Musakanda, Hamilton Masakadza (c), Elton Chigumbura, Peter Moor (wk), Malcolm Waller, Tendai Chisoro, Kyle Jarvis, Blessing Muzarabani, Chris Mpofu

Pakistan

Sarfraz’s men will have Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez as the openers. Hussain Talat and Asif Ali will need to step up in order for them to cement their position. The onus will be on Shoaib Malik and Sarfraz Ahmed to shoulder the middle order. The lineup has four fast bowlers with Hasan Khan being the lone spinner. Mohammad Amir will also play after missing out the last match against Scotland.

Predicted XI

Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Hussain Talat, Sarfraz Ahmed (C, wk), Asif Ali, Shoaib Malik, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir, Usman Khan

Players to watch out for

Hamilton Masakadza- Zimbabwe

Masakadza, the newly appointed skipper, has nearly 1500 runs in the format and has been their stalwart for the last 12 years. With loads of experience under his belt, the top order batter has the responsibility to shepherd his team. His team will be up against the top two ranked teams in the format and the 34-year old’s role is expected to be pivotal.

Fakhar Zaman- Pakistan

Fakhar has been a massive success for Pakistan in the last one year owing to his unflinching approach to batting. He had an impressive PSL for the Lahore Qalandars and he has followed it up with some breezy knocks versus the Windies and Scotland. The home team will be wary of the threat the left-hander would walk in with tomorrow.

Head to Head

Played – 9 | Zimbabwe – 0, Pakistan – 9, Tie/NR – 0

Broadcast details: 

TV – PTV Sports (Pakistan)

Sony Six, Sony Six HD (India)

Live streaming– PTV Sports (Pakistan)

Sony LIV (India)

Match Timings: 1:00 PM PKT, 1:30 PM IST

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