After an emphatic win in the T20I tri-series, Pakistan will look to continue their dominance over the revamped Zimbabwe side when they square off in the first ODI at Bulawayo on July 13.
Meanwhile, it has been five months Pakistan has played an ODI and will look to improve their credentials. On the other hand, the hosts will look to start fresh after missing out on the World Cup next year. To add to their worry, Solomon Mire will miss the series with a gluteal tear.
Moreover, the hosts have been set back by key personnel missing from the line-up. The impasse between the board and the top players seems unresolved until now.
The team from the subcontinent will be oozing with confidence with their batters in the good form. Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali were all among runs in the T20I series. The return of Yasir Shah and Junaid Khan will boost the already impressive Pakistan bowling line-up. Furthermore, Babar Azam has also recovered from injury and admitted that he will start tomorrow.
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, led by Hamilton Masakadza.
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.
Zimbabwe: LLWTW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Pitch and conditions
Bulawayo’s pitches are generally flatter than Harare’s – located in the south of Zimbabwe, which traditionally doesn’t get as much rainfall. However, the pitch has got slower and lower over the past few years, so forcing the issue might prove dangerous for batsmen.
With this being the middle of the Zimbabwean winter, conditions will be cool and dry. It isn’t likely to get as cold as Harare did during the tri-series.
Stats and trivia
- Pakistan are the only ranked ODI team to not to have won at least one ODI this year, having lost all five they’ve played.
- Pakistan have won all three games they’ve played against Zimbabwe at Queen’s Sports Club, Bulawayo, but they haven’t always had it easy. While they won one match by 104 runs, the other two triumphs were by seven runs and five runs respectively.
Also read: It is a big day for me – Kuldeep Yadav