Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st T20, Harare August 22, 2013

Zimbabwe bring focus back to cricket

27

Match facts

Friday, August 23, 2013
Start time 1330 local (1130 GMT)

Big Picture

In a relatively quiet month for international cricket, save for the ongoing marquee Test series in England, Zimbabwe and Pakistan have managed to shoehorn a series to fill a gap in the calendar. Shortly after the series was confirmed came the off-field distraction involving the Zimbabwe players and the cricket board. A familiar pay dispute led to fears over whether the tour would get under way but, thankfully, the players made peace with the board with the formation of a players union.

The dispute, however, disrupted the hosts' practice schedules and though they have since resumed training, it remains to be seen if it has been sufficient. This is in contrast to the preparations ahead of the recent home series against India. The players trained for ten weeks, but it wasn't enough to stretch an experimental Indian side. The batting was the biggest let down, followed by the fielding. The result was a 5-0 thrashing. It will only get tougher against Pakistan, who're playing full strength despite the low-profile nature of the tour.

Prosper Utseya, the offspinner, has insisted that the players are in the right frame of mind. "We have managed to put that [contractual issue] behind now and some of the players have been offered contracts," Utseya told the Zimbabwe Herald. "Obviously I am not sure what they've got, but they looked happy. It is good that ZC have managed to meet us halfway going into the series."

Series wins in the West Indies have given Pakistan confidence after the gloom of the Champions Trophy. The performances of the youngsters in the two T20s in the West Indies, including Umar Amin and Zulfiqar Babar, should have pleased them immensely. A few players have been busy in the Caribbean Premier League, though, among them, only Mohammad Hafeez features in the upcoming T20s. The rest of the squad have been training in Lahore.

Form guide

Pakistan WWWLW (last five completed matches, most recent first)
Zimbabwe LWLLL

Players to watch

Sikandar Raza is likely to play his first game against the country of his birth, but that alone shouldn't be the only talking point about him. Raza's 82 against India was the highest individual score by a Zimbabwe batsman in the series and though his form fell away in the remaining games, it marked him down as a player to watch. What Raza needs is consistent scores to keep his place in the XI.

Zulfiqar Babar had to wait till he was 34 to get his first opportunity for Pakistan. The left-arm spinner was picked in the T20 squad for the West Indies and had a dream debut, taking 3 for 23, but his job didn't end there. Batting at No. 8, Babar had the honour of facing the final ball of the match with one needed to win. He finished the game with a swagger, hitting a six. He ended the two-match series with five wickets and the expectations off him would have increased.

Team news

Zimbabwe trimmed their practice squad to 15 on the eve of the series. There were no surprises in the squad.*

Zimbabwe (possible): 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Sikandar Raza, 4 Brendan Taylor (capt & wk), 5 Malcolm Waller, 6 Sean Williams, 7 Shingi Masakadza, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Natsai M'shangwe, 10 Brian Vitori, 11 Tinashe Panyangara

Pakistan are without Umar Akmal for the series, after he was withdrawn after suffering a seizure while flying in the West Indies. Sarfraz Ahmed was named the replacement wicketkeeper.

Pakistan (likely): 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Mohammad Hafeez (capt), 3 Ahmed Shehzad, 4 Umar Amin, 5 Haris Sohail, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 8 Sohail Tanvir, 9 Zulfiqar Babar, 10 Saeed Ajmal, 11 Asad Ali

Stats and trivia

  • In the last bilateral series between these sides in Zimbabwe, in 2011, Pakistan won both T20s
  • Shahid Afridi needs 84 more for 1000 T20 runs. Mohammad Hafeez is the only Pakistan batsman to pass that milestone. Umar Akmal is second with 929.

Quotes

"Their batsmen are prone to cracking under pressure and that is what we will have to do if we are to get the better of them. We really need to put them under pressure and play smart cricket."
Zimbabwe's Prosper Utseya

* - 15.30 GMT, August 22, 2013 - Story updated following Zimbabwe's squad announcement

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • on August 23, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    Pakistan is a killing t20 side 8n the whole world. They will crush Zimbabwe with big margins in all t20 and ODI

  • on August 23, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    long live pakistan,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • keptalittlelow on August 23, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    Where is Hamad Azam? Is Harris Sohail a Twenty20 player? Saeed Ajmal should have been rested when Zulfiqar Babar is in the team.

  • wrenx on August 23, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Why is Zulfiqar Babar described as a "youngster" and then as having to wait until he was 34 to make his debut - can't be both!

  • on August 23, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    i think they should not play saeed ajmal,haris sohail and asad ali....sohaib maqsood,anwar ali and junaid khan should be played

  • calcu on August 23, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    It is certainly not going to be a cakewalk for pak. They will struggle sgainst ZIM and are likely to lose atleast 1 match.

  • on August 23, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    where is junaid khan and mohammad irfan, they are the second and third best bowlers for pakistan (first being ajmal). Sohail Tanvir and Asad Ali should make way for them. Haris Sohail should also be dropped for Sohaib Maqsood as he is only an ODI and test player having a strike rate of only 82 (averaged). Even without these changes though pakistan should crush Zimbabwe.

  • Vilander on August 23, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    problem for prosper u is that, its difficut to see zim scoring more than 50 odd runs against the pak bowling lineup..if they score anywhere near 200 they have a shot though.

  • ZCFOutkast on August 23, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    Great to see Panyangara there. If Mpofu doesn't recover we know we'll have a top experienced seamer to lead Vitori&Shingi during Tests. He should be rusty though and unfit matchwise, but hopefully he comes right. Maybe Chatara ahead of Shingi in the first game, since Shingi will also be rusty matchwise. Perhaps keep him there since we could use the runs down the order.

    Malcolm Waller again! Who does this guy know? Trick question! I think Williams has already proved that for all my respect of him, this format is just not for him, Maruma ahead of Malcolm it is then. Maruma can comfortaby be the next 2nd spinner

    Raza, Hami, Vusi, Taylor, Williams, Maruma, Elton, Utseya, Shingi, Panyangara, Vitori.

    Author, I can't believe you left out Chigumbura from you probable lineup!!!

  • SaadRocx on August 23, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Just put young players in the team against Zimbabwe in T20 games..Lets see what happen..Even if they lose Just have confidence in them and give them more chances.

  • on August 23, 2013, 11:02 GMT

    Pakistan is a killing t20 side 8n the whole world. They will crush Zimbabwe with big margins in all t20 and ODI

  • on August 23, 2013, 10:57 GMT

    long live pakistan,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

  • keptalittlelow on August 23, 2013, 10:06 GMT

    Where is Hamad Azam? Is Harris Sohail a Twenty20 player? Saeed Ajmal should have been rested when Zulfiqar Babar is in the team.

  • wrenx on August 23, 2013, 9:49 GMT

    Why is Zulfiqar Babar described as a "youngster" and then as having to wait until he was 34 to make his debut - can't be both!

  • on August 23, 2013, 9:21 GMT

    i think they should not play saeed ajmal,haris sohail and asad ali....sohaib maqsood,anwar ali and junaid khan should be played

  • calcu on August 23, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    It is certainly not going to be a cakewalk for pak. They will struggle sgainst ZIM and are likely to lose atleast 1 match.

  • on August 23, 2013, 9:07 GMT

    where is junaid khan and mohammad irfan, they are the second and third best bowlers for pakistan (first being ajmal). Sohail Tanvir and Asad Ali should make way for them. Haris Sohail should also be dropped for Sohaib Maqsood as he is only an ODI and test player having a strike rate of only 82 (averaged). Even without these changes though pakistan should crush Zimbabwe.

  • Vilander on August 23, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    problem for prosper u is that, its difficut to see zim scoring more than 50 odd runs against the pak bowling lineup..if they score anywhere near 200 they have a shot though.

  • ZCFOutkast on August 23, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    Great to see Panyangara there. If Mpofu doesn't recover we know we'll have a top experienced seamer to lead Vitori&Shingi during Tests. He should be rusty though and unfit matchwise, but hopefully he comes right. Maybe Chatara ahead of Shingi in the first game, since Shingi will also be rusty matchwise. Perhaps keep him there since we could use the runs down the order.

    Malcolm Waller again! Who does this guy know? Trick question! I think Williams has already proved that for all my respect of him, this format is just not for him, Maruma ahead of Malcolm it is then. Maruma can comfortaby be the next 2nd spinner

    Raza, Hami, Vusi, Taylor, Williams, Maruma, Elton, Utseya, Shingi, Panyangara, Vitori.

    Author, I can't believe you left out Chigumbura from you probable lineup!!!

  • SaadRocx on August 23, 2013, 8:06 GMT

    Just put young players in the team against Zimbabwe in T20 games..Lets see what happen..Even if they lose Just have confidence in them and give them more chances.

  • Captain_Tuk_Tuk on August 23, 2013, 7:29 GMT

    @Prosper Utseya I wouldn't count on that Pakistan may have worst batting line-up but they are number 2 in T20 ranking and they are the only team who have qualified for all of the T20 WC semi-finals at-least and they are just behind Srilanka who are number 1 because last T20 WC was in Srilanka they have played enough T20 at home.

    Pakistan have beaten West Indies 2-0 in T20 series, so no doubt Pakistan will have a clean sweep in T20s but I have a bad feelings about longer format of cricket.

  • _king13_ on August 23, 2013, 6:47 GMT

    Pakistan's recent form in t20's has been outstanding.this tour should be utilised to test our new players like sohaib maqsood and anwar ali..Iwonder who would be taking the gloves on,becuz sarfaraz will not arrive before the first game and might not take part in it.

  • Fast_Track_Bully on August 23, 2013, 6:43 GMT

    Even a full strength Pakistan will struggle against ZIM. They gained the experience by recent matches.Scores between 200-225 will be enough against Pakistan.

  • on August 23, 2013, 6:22 GMT

    'The performances of the youngsters in the two T20s in the West Indies, including Umar Amin and Zulfiqar Babar, should have pleased them immensely.'

    So 34 is young? Seriously cricinfo.

  • lady_cricket_fan on August 23, 2013, 4:48 GMT

    Saeed Ajmal should be rested. New talent should be given chance to prove themselves

  • on August 23, 2013, 3:00 GMT

    @Jda123 100% agree with you. Ajmal should be rested for ODIs and Tests. Rahman should be given the chance so that he would be ready for the next series.

    I believe, A.Rahman is Ajmal's tesra. Its a fantastic sight when both Ajmal and A.Rahman are on song.

    Rizwan (wk) did no play last series, then he was not given the chance in this series.

  • rsgarcia on August 23, 2013, 1:46 GMT

    Really? A quiet month for international cricket? With the first CPL going full blast in the West Indies? Sure. It's been real quiet.

  • Crick_Expert on August 23, 2013, 0:41 GMT

    PAK should chance to young players like Anwar Ali instead Shoail Tanvir. Why PCB giving chance to Shoail Tanvir, he never showed any performance in his past games. PAK People waiting for cricket matches at home grounds, ICC should open eyes now.

  • Anti_ZCFOutkast on August 23, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Not sure of Prosper 'the snitch' Utseya is going to put the Pakistanis under much pressure.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 22, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    We're gonna get beat. My bones are tingling. And it tells me Pakistan is gonna get best. For shame.

  • Desihungama on August 22, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    Again. Why is Harris Sohail playing Twenty20 when he is clearly an ODI/Test batsman? They are doing the same thing what they did to Fawad Alam who was clearly out of line playing Twenty20 cricket and the ultimate price was exclusion from ODI and Tests. Very shameful.

  • t20cric on August 22, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    I think Pakistan have a very good chance of winning this because in T20s they are very consistent with their only loss in recent months coming against india. If Pak win this series they may be the top ranked t20. In ODIs is the only place I believe that Zimbabwe have a chance of winning cuz we are very dependent on Misbah and if they get him out quickly every time (highly unlikely) then they may win or tie a match. But even to win in ODIs will be tough for them. Pakistan should definitely give Sohaib and Anwar a chance cuz they will probably win these t20s no matter what. They are forced to make Sarfraz play all ODIs and T20s as a wicketkeeper and he may surprise us with good batting. I hope Umar Akmal gets well soon and can be in the team in future series as a no.4 batsman and one of Sarfraz or Rizwan can be the wicketkeeper.

  • asim229 on August 22, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    I dont think Zimbabwe can post a big threat to pakistan team because they are a struggling team and may not be able to win a single game in this series. On the other hand it is a good opportunity for pak to practice for the SA and Srilanka series in U.A.E and also for Misbah to build a team combination for WC2015 because he will be leading the side atleast till 2015 and can experiement with team combination in this series.

  • on August 22, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    Anwar Ali should be given a chance instead of sohail tanvir .. He's a genuine allrounder.

  • Jda123 on August 22, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    Ajmal should be rested...

    Maybe not for the T20 but for the ODI and Test matches, it's essential with the upcoming series in UAE with SA, Rehman should be given a chance.

    Sohaib Maqsood should be given a chance but it wont happen with Jamshed, Hafeez. Shezad in the line up as, Sohaib Maqsood will only get a chance if Jamshed/Shezad are not playing as then Hafeez will open with up Shezad/Jamshed and then at 3) Amin 4) Maqsood 5) Sohail 6) Afridi etc etc

  • on August 22, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    irfan should play instead of Asad Ali and ll be hopeful that umar amin play at NO 3

  • LeftBrain on August 22, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    Hope for good cricket, competetive cricket. Zimbabwe need games against quality teams and it is a good thing that Pakistan are playing against them. It will definitely help ther cricketers gain much needed exposure. Best of luck to both teams.

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  • LeftBrain on August 22, 2013, 14:34 GMT

    Hope for good cricket, competetive cricket. Zimbabwe need games against quality teams and it is a good thing that Pakistan are playing against them. It will definitely help ther cricketers gain much needed exposure. Best of luck to both teams.

  • on August 22, 2013, 16:22 GMT

    irfan should play instead of Asad Ali and ll be hopeful that umar amin play at NO 3

  • Jda123 on August 22, 2013, 16:33 GMT

    Ajmal should be rested...

    Maybe not for the T20 but for the ODI and Test matches, it's essential with the upcoming series in UAE with SA, Rehman should be given a chance.

    Sohaib Maqsood should be given a chance but it wont happen with Jamshed, Hafeez. Shezad in the line up as, Sohaib Maqsood will only get a chance if Jamshed/Shezad are not playing as then Hafeez will open with up Shezad/Jamshed and then at 3) Amin 4) Maqsood 5) Sohail 6) Afridi etc etc

  • on August 22, 2013, 16:40 GMT

    Anwar Ali should be given a chance instead of sohail tanvir .. He's a genuine allrounder.

  • asim229 on August 22, 2013, 16:56 GMT

    I dont think Zimbabwe can post a big threat to pakistan team because they are a struggling team and may not be able to win a single game in this series. On the other hand it is a good opportunity for pak to practice for the SA and Srilanka series in U.A.E and also for Misbah to build a team combination for WC2015 because he will be leading the side atleast till 2015 and can experiement with team combination in this series.

  • t20cric on August 22, 2013, 18:15 GMT

    I think Pakistan have a very good chance of winning this because in T20s they are very consistent with their only loss in recent months coming against india. If Pak win this series they may be the top ranked t20. In ODIs is the only place I believe that Zimbabwe have a chance of winning cuz we are very dependent on Misbah and if they get him out quickly every time (highly unlikely) then they may win or tie a match. But even to win in ODIs will be tough for them. Pakistan should definitely give Sohaib and Anwar a chance cuz they will probably win these t20s no matter what. They are forced to make Sarfraz play all ODIs and T20s as a wicketkeeper and he may surprise us with good batting. I hope Umar Akmal gets well soon and can be in the team in future series as a no.4 batsman and one of Sarfraz or Rizwan can be the wicketkeeper.

  • Desihungama on August 22, 2013, 20:29 GMT

    Again. Why is Harris Sohail playing Twenty20 when he is clearly an ODI/Test batsman? They are doing the same thing what they did to Fawad Alam who was clearly out of line playing Twenty20 cricket and the ultimate price was exclusion from ODI and Tests. Very shameful.

  • AndyZaltzmannsHair on August 22, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    We're gonna get beat. My bones are tingling. And it tells me Pakistan is gonna get best. For shame.

  • Anti_ZCFOutkast on August 23, 2013, 0:02 GMT

    Not sure of Prosper 'the snitch' Utseya is going to put the Pakistanis under much pressure.

  • Crick_Expert on August 23, 2013, 0:41 GMT

    PAK should chance to young players like Anwar Ali instead Shoail Tanvir. Why PCB giving chance to Shoail Tanvir, he never showed any performance in his past games. PAK People waiting for cricket matches at home grounds, ICC should open eyes now.