Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Harare August 28, 2013

Zimbabwe chase history amid gloom


Match facts

Thursday, August 29, 2013
Start time 0930 local (0730 GMT)

Big Picture

Zimbabwe's shock win in the first ODI was their first against Pakistan in 15 years, but now the beleaguered team has a chance to go one better - a win in one of the remaining two matches will give Zimbabwe their first bilateral series win against a top side since beating New Zealand 2-1, 12 years ago. The win on Tuesday gave Zimbabwe a chance to celebrate amid the gloom; a series win would inject some much-needed faith.

Zimbabwe coach Andy Waller said the success was the fruit of two months of hard work, during which the team has attempted to fine-tune its game plan of the top order making sure they lay the platform for the stroke-makers in the middle order. The manner in which the top three handled the chase in the first part exemplified the team's methods and Zimbabwe will pin their hopes on the three to do the same at least one more time.

The batting plan has seemed to work in the last few matches and the bowling has been steady for the conditions, but Zimbabwe need to focus some attention on the fielding. Once one of the best fielding sides, Zimbabwe's fielding has withered away. Had they taken all the chances that came their way on Tuesday, they could have restricted Pakistan to an even lower score. Waller said that one of his goals is to take Zimbabwe's fielding to the level it used to be in the '90s and the team is working hard towards it, but poor performances during the matches pull the team back.

The fielding didn't hurt Zimbabwe on Tuesday as Pakistan made a few errors of their own. Apart from losing the tempo during their batting and the sloppy fielding towards the end of the match, Pakistan misread the pitch and batted first on a surface that Masakadza later said "gets better in the afternoon". They are armed with the knowledge now and Zimbabwe expect Pakistan to come back harder at them. But Pakistan can be the most beatable of the top sides and unbeatable on the same day. They are the Harvey Dent of cricket: which side turns up on a day seems to be a result of an imaginary coin toss.

In the spotlight

Zimbabwe's openers, Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda, have been batting together since their school days and that familiarity with each other helped them focus during their century partnership on Tuesday. Masakadza later said that they talked about how their stand was going to be critical for the team's chances in the chase. The two negated Pakistan's bowlers with ease and that opening stand will again be crucial to Zimbabwe's chances.

It wasn't long ago that Shahid Afridi, on his comeback trail, ripped through West Indies with bat and ball. Since that explosive performance, Afridi has gone into a shell. He hardly caused a flutter with the bat in the first ODI when the team needed some late push, while his bowling lacked zip and he was taken for easy runs. Pakistan would hope the allrounder doesn't wait to fire till his place in the side is in doubt again.

Team news

Pakistan's bowling lacked incisiveness on a pitch that flattened out later in the day, so they could consider bringing in Abdur Rehman in place of a batsman.

Pakistan (possible) 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Umar Amin, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Haris Sohail/Abdur Rehman, 8 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Mohammad Irfan

Zimbabwe are unlikely to disturb the team combination that won them a historic match.

Zimbabwe (possible): 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Brendan Taylor (capt & wk), 4 Timycen Maruma , 5 Malcolm Waller, 6 Sean Williams, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Tendai Chatara, 9 Prosper Utseya, 10 Brian Vitori, 11 Tinashe Panyangara

Stats and trivia

  • Eleven times in the last 10 years, Zimbabwe openers have registered century stands. Eight of those have involved either Hamilton Masakadza or Vusi Sibanda.
  • If Shahid Afridi's epic show against West Indies is taken out, he has 163 runs and three wickets from 10 matches this year.

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • QAMRUL on August 29, 2013, 7:32 GMT

    every one says pakistan have very good talented youngster. But when they come in national level they fail to perform well why. i didn't saw any such player who perform consistently like VIRAT KOHLI, ASHWIN ETC.

  • Muhammad Ammar on August 29, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    With 6 spinners (and replacements also spinners), how can you pressurize the opponents. 240 or under 200 are still good total from current Pakistan batting, but nobody is there to create pressure like Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar could do after taking wicket, whenever they were given ball. The wicket taking ability of these bowlers (Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar) helped other players to take wickets and rely on low scores, and then groom and become great. Now, no Wasim Akram, Waqar Younis and Shoaib Akhtar or similar bowler... And even we don't expect them for next 5-6 years as recent talent hunt camp in Pakistan could not find any bowler having pace more than 135 km/h. I am expecting similar ups and downs with Pakistan team next 10 years as well. However, Australia will grow back and become threatening in 2 years maximum, because they has 3-4 wicket taking pacers (all now young and inexperienced, but will get experience in 2-3 years). Change plans....

  • sunny on August 29, 2013, 7:31 GMT

    Afridi is a iconic player but how responsible is he.with great power comes greater responsibility.he has been given the power(being selected even after non performances)its time he showed some responsibility.......in my view razzaq was a better performer,God knows why he has been sidetracked.........time pakistan bloods some youngester to replace Afridi.

  • Yasir on August 29, 2013, 7:17 GMT

    Main reason of PAk batting failure..Ahmed Shehzad & Nasir are not playing their natural game.Plus Misbah is not changing at all despite the fact that whole world is asking him to score fast runs but he wont budge..Also i dont understand what's the role of Whatmore here..HE should be kicked out of the team.Pak batting has declined so much after Whatmore joined us..

  • ZCF on August 29, 2013, 7:10 GMT

    No doubt Pakistan will look to hit back with a vengeance today. They have enough quality to do just. That toss call in the first game cost them dearly, Zim have just won the toss today and will bowl. The Pak batsmen will be forced to attack so they can set a target beyond Zimbabwe's reach, but the questions are - will they be able to do so while avoiding collapsing, and an even bigger question is can Misbah continue his streak and match Andy Flower, Sachin&Ponting's five consecutive fifties? He will need that record if Pakistan are to do well here, but in truth, he's due to fail. Hope that's today.

    Big chase on the cards, Taylor should be tired from his clumsy keeping so let's see some imagination from Andy Waller. Send in Williams&Malcolm at 3&4 respectively to show what they're really made of, with Taylor,Chigumbura&Maruma to follow in that order.

  • Dummy4 on August 29, 2013, 7:05 GMT

    lolx now Pakistan fans want Shoaib Malik in the team again please anybody ell me when he last scored a 50 in an Odi.

  • Dummy4 on August 29, 2013, 7:04 GMT

    A victory for ZIMBABWE, which was well deserved, so congrats to them

    For Pakistan, only 1 sentence

    "Play the game you people are famous for and rip through the RED SHIRTS"

  • Dummy4 on August 29, 2013, 6:59 GMT

    Misbah has ruined Pak cricket, he will not let any player settled in the team or he always support un-merited players. I as Pakistani knows we have lot of good players wasted. Player like U.Akmal or Abdul Razzaq In and Out everytime, but hafeez will be their Hafeez the worst player only know to score against Zim/Ban i don't think he will do anything even in UAE against S.A Misbah plz get rid now your lose confidence impact is on whole team and it will last after 2 years of your retirement. We need aggressive captain either he is a junior cricketer. Misbah play his game but why he force other to play like him otherwise you will be out in next game. Cricket now a days is different Mr. Misbah

  • Yasir on August 29, 2013, 6:46 GMT

    @GRVJPR:Lol enjoy the current series..I hope you will enjoy the SA tour as well :P

  • GAURAV on August 29, 2013, 6:36 GMT

    India beat zimbabwe 5-0 despite sending their B team. On the other hand zim is giveng pakistan a run for their life. Really enjoying it.