Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st Twenty20, Harare

Pakistan seek to maintain winning ways

The Preview by Firdose Moonda

September 15, 2011

Comments: 19 | Text size: A | A

Match facts

September 16, Harare Sports Club
Start time 1400 (1200GMT)


Younis Khan drives during his half-century, Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Harare, September 14, 2011
Younis Khan wants to extend his good ODI form to the T20s © AFP
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Big Picture

After two weeks of hard grind, the fun part of the tour has arrived, with two Twenty20 matches to end the series between Zimbabwe and Pakistan. The hosts won't be taking things too lightly, after their four defeats (in the one-off Test and the three ODIs) so far and will want to show Pakistan that they can compete with and beat them. They will also be anxious to turn around a mini-run of poor form ahead of an important home-and-away series against New Zealand.

Zimbabwe are not an experienced outfit in T20 cricket and last played an international match in October 2010 against South Africa. They have, however, revolutionised their domestic setup with a sizeable sponsorship for the T20 competition and a number of international players taking part. They have taken enormous pride in that particular tournament and will be keen to show that the efforts that went into that have not gone to waste.

Pakistan have already wrapped up the majority of the tour but to go home without conceding a single defeat would be a significant achievement for them. Besides the clean sweep, they have another important thing to keep in mind - Waqar Younis has entered his last weekend as the national coach and will want to leave on a high.

All the players that Pakistan brought in or re-introduced into their line-up, barring Shoaib Malik, have impressed and with the most expressive format of the game left to play, they will want to show their flair as the tour draws to a close.

Form guide (most recent first)

Zimbabwe LLLLL
Pakistan LWLLL

In the spotlight

The shortest format of the game relies on big hitters and Elton Chigumbura has been talked up as the Zimbabwean who can hit it the furthest. He unleashed some of his killer blows in the ODI series but was often left with too many to get off too few deliveries. Similar equations exist in T20 only to be defied and Chigumbura will have to be the man that defies them. Zimbabwe will have to box clever with him and consider giving him more time at the crease to show off his big shots.

Aizaz Cheema has not put a foot wrong so far on this tour. He has been the master of variation, mixing up his slower balls with yorkers and bouncers and showing the less experienced lot the only way to succeed on unresponsive surfaces. With the change in format, he could be a key component of Pakistan's success. Cheema has played 19 T20 matches domestically and has 27 wickets at an average of 18.40 and could prove a handful for Zimbabwe's tentative batsmen.

Team news

Zimbabwe have added Mr 194, Charles Coventry, to their squad and the little known allrounder Cephas Zhuwao to their squad. Coventry will likely slot into the middle order, perhaps even ahead of the likes of Taylor or Taibu. Malcolm Waller should pay the price for a number of promising starts without pushing on. Senior paceman Chris Mpofu should be brought back in, with Ray Price operating as the solitary spinner.

Zimbabwe: (probable) Vusi Sibanda, Chamu Chibhabha, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor (capt), Charles Coventry, Tatenda Taibu (wk), Elton Chigumbura, Ray Price, Brian Vitori, Kyle Jarvis, Chris Mpofu

For Pakistan, Rameez Raja should be given a chance after sitting out of the lone Test match and all three one-dayers. He would replace Imran Farhat in the opening slot. Asad Shafiq was impressive in his first outing and will be competing with Shoaib Malik for a spot, if Umar Akmal is going to be brought back. Yasir Shah also earned praise and may be retained instead of Saeed Ajmal while Sohail Khan and Junaid Khan may be given turns in the third seamer role.

Pakistan: (probable) Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat/Rameez Raja, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), Shoaib Malik/Asad Shafiq, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal (wk), Sohail Tanvir, Sohail Khan, Aizaz Cheema , Yasir Shah

Pitch and conditions

Brendan Taylor described the Harare pitch as "one of the best around," and it is, for batsmen. Batsmen will again have the freedom of the surface as shot making should not be problematic. Taylor also expects "balls to be flying everywhere," in the shortest form of the game, with a quick outfield and good carry expected. It will be tough work for the bowlers again but they are probably anticipating as much in a T20.

Stats and trivia

  • Zimbabwe have only played 14 T20s and have won just three. All of their victories have come away from home.
  • Pakistan's lowest score in a T20 was when they were bowled out for 89 by England in September last year. None of their batsmen scored more than 20 in that match.

Quotes

"It's a quick turnaround from the ODIs to the T20s so it's a good chance for the guys to showcase their talent and their skills."
Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe captain, says the tight schedule will give his team an opportunity to bounce back quickly

"I am enjoying my cricket these days and I want to participate not only in batting, but in fielding and to be able to talk to the captain when we are under pressure and deliver my experience in all departments."
Pakistan's Man of the Series in the ODIs Younis Khan says he wants to continue playing an important role in the T20s

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

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© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 12:28 GMT)

I hope Pakistan will surely continue winning and Rameez Raja should be given a chance to prove himself at international level

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 12:26 GMT)

I strongly believe that Umar Akmal possess the talent which can destroy each n every team by his performance in all three formats, and this is ridiculous to compare him with others like Asad, etc. PCB needs to give him confidence that he's the key player for them & he needs to deliver when it matters so... anyway best wishes for Pak team.

Posted by Hasso29 on (September 16, 2011, 11:12 GMT)

imran farhat and younis khan should not be in T20s!

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 10:33 GMT)

Watch out for Rameez Raja Jr... he should play and if he does, it will be good

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 10:02 GMT)

Younis should continue .. playing in eery format of cricket t20 needs fitness and hes the sperfit player of Pakistan team... when there comes t20 it doesnt mean that .theyw ill ht six on every ball but there will be a boundary an our and he can do that

Posted by zazzoon on (September 16, 2011, 8:59 GMT)

we need to lose the akmals, they are unreliable and unpredictable players, didnt we learn our lesson with kamran akmal...bring in someone with real talent, not just because they have contacts

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 8:50 GMT)

Pakistan should include Ramiz Raja in the side as he is a fantastic batsman and known for his hard hitting..Meanwhile they cant drop Saeed Ajaml from the side as Zimbabwe"s batsmans are unable to pick his dosra..and younis and asad should not be the part of playing eleven..

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 8:27 GMT)

pakistan need good allrouder who can bowl 10 overs

Posted by A.T.Abbasi on (September 16, 2011, 8:01 GMT)

I think its a better chance for Pakistan to gain confidence in T20 matches because in the last few T20 matches Pakistan,s performance was not up to the mark. Rameez Raja should be given a chance.He is a real great talent. I seen him playing T20 in Pakistan.

Posted by   on (September 16, 2011, 6:22 GMT)

hmed,Afridi,Abdur Razzaq Must be brought back. And Mohammad Yousuf In A test Matches..

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