Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 3rd ODI, Harare August 30, 2013

Rare chance for Zimbabwe to secure silverware


Match facts

Saturday, August 31, 2013
Start time 0930 local (0730 GMT)

Big Picture

It's not often that you get a second crack at winning a series against a top side if you are Zimbabwe. They may have lost the second ODI by a heavy margin, but that has only meant that the last game of the three-match contest is nicely poised with the series up for grabs. Pakistan were lax in the first ODI, but as they showed in the second, they are unlikely to repeat the mistakes and are favourites to take the series. Zimbabwe, on the other hand, not only need to find their best game, but also somehow concentrate despite the chafing presence of the player payments issue in the background that has put the remaining matches in the series - including the third ODI - under cloud.

But there is something about the way Zimbabwe are playing in this series. They do not appear mere pushovers who are just required to take the field for the other team to stroll to a win. They are making Pakistan work hard, they are handling Pakistan's bowlers appreciably well. Saeed Ajmal has taken a couple of wickets in each ODI, but he hasn't run through the side. Shahid Afridi, a menacing bowler for most teams, has not been able to pick a wicket. Mohammad Hafeez is wicket-less as well and Zimbabwe have managed to cross 200 in both matches.

It's a huge confidence boost for a struggling team against one of the most potent attacks in the world. Zimbabwe would believe that if they are to cause an upset before the Test matches, it has to come through their batting. The top order has been in decent form and the middle order has been contributing valuable runs.

Pakistan, though, would hope their openers come good and play meaningful innings. There is the calming presence of Misbah-ul-Haq and Hafeez in the middle order, but the rest of the batsmen haven't shown consistency or leadership in building an innings. Not yet. That's the chink in Pakistan's armour Zimbabwe need to exploit. It could be their last chance to earn some glory as Pakistan are unlikely to cede any territory when the Tests begin.

Form guide

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

Players to watch

Nasir Jamshed, one of the most promising batsmen in world cricket, had an exciting start to the year. Things have fizzled down a bit since then. The selectors' decision to drop him from the Test squad raised a few eyebrows, but with scores of 2, 23, 27 and 32 on this tour, the case against him has only got stronger. Pakistan have two important tours against South Africa and Sri Lanka later this year and this match is Jamshed's last chance to bring himself back into the spotlight.

Brian Vitori has picked up a couple of wickets in both the matches. In the second ODI, he dismissed two specialist batsmen in the first half of the innings, but was taken for runs towards the end. However, in the first ODI, his spells were a mirror image: he was expensive at the start, but incisive towards the end. He bowls with good pace and if he can stay consistent during the match, he is always a threat to pick wickets.

Team news

Questions were asked of Brendan Taylor during the post-match press conference after the second ODI about Timycen Maruma's place in the XI and the absence of Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza. Taylor defended the inclusion of Maruma saying the batsman has looked better in the nets. But with five failures in a row, Maruma may have run out of breathing space. Taylor indicated Zimbabwe might make a couple of changes.

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

Pakistan are unlikely to disturb the winning combination for the crucial match.

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

Stats and trivia

  • Misbah-ul-Haq is the leading ODI batsman this year, with 894 runs. He has hit 10 half-centuries in this period, which is one-third of his career tally. When he was dismissed for 3 in the last match, it was only the third time this year he was out for a single-digit score. He averages a whopping 59.60 this year, but his strike-rate is 71.57, almost two points below his career strike-rate
  • Brendan Taylor, who has scored 483 runs more than Misbah in his career, has had a poor year till now. He is averaging 23 this year after staying over 40 in each of the previous four years.


"Raza has had a fair run. To me he's new to the side and we know he has got serious ability so we need to try and back him and he's definitely going to contribute but it's not going well for him and that's the nature of the game."
Brendan Taylor on Sikandar Raza

Devashish Fuloria is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on August 31, 2013, 0:53 GMT

    yah.. there is a chance for Zimbabwe to make a history.they are going to progression level but the Zc board has not the sources in the shape of financial. the Players union is also strong enough to get their dues otherwise the Test series is in doubt.

  • ZCF on August 30, 2013, 22:24 GMT

    The way Zim batsmen threw their wickets is explained by these developments. I'd hate to say this but my support is firmly beind Pakistan. Give them a major hiding to a point where there'll be little noise if an alternative squad of players is called up and assembled for the Test.

    The way these boys are behaving in the middle of a series is embarassing and uncalled for. They ought to be ashamed of themselves! I question their love for the game. The whole bunch have got laughable stats, but they think they are indispensable. Their actions are precipitating an early yet overdue rebuild of the team.

    I look forward to more body bruises courtesy of Irfan, bemused batsmen walking off after Ajmal has bamboozeld them yet again, while a typical Afridi onslaught plunders the sorry attack. Conditions are ripe for Nasir to get a big score and salvage his spot. Hope Misbah's occasional inclination to despatch spinners over the boundary will be in full force. Fluid half century for Maruma though!

  • ahmed on August 30, 2013, 21:40 GMT

    Pakistan should bowl first if they win the toss because it gets easier to bat in the 2nd innings. They should replace Haris Sohail with Saeed Ajmal because we will need an extra batsman if our top order fail (as it does most of the times) Inshallah Pakistan will win the Odi and will get the trophy.

  • Mohammad on August 30, 2013, 20:28 GMT

    This maybe the last chance for Jamshed to prove his significance in the team otherwise PCB will certainly look for a new opener and Zimbabwe should prefer Raza instead of going for Maruma who so far has been poor.

  • Rishi on August 30, 2013, 20:18 GMT

    ZIM team is looking very promising, and PAK team coach sees the improvement in ZIM team. But, my guess PAK will win. WI and PAK teams remains the most fascinating teams in cricket world regardless of the format. There (WI and PAK) WIN to LOSS ratio is far better than any other sucontinent teams, no matter how much other teams tout their horns. FACTS are facts.

  • asad on August 30, 2013, 19:54 GMT

    Pakistan should try to finish off this series really well and score a big score if they bat first. This time it would be nice if one of the openers could make a century and justify that they deserve there spots. Pakistan's bowling really needs to step it up and if Pak get to bowl first tommorow then they'll want to get ZImbabwe all out before they complete 50 overs like they did yesterday. This way they'll only have to chase about 220 if Pakistan bowl to there full potential and it would make for an easy chase.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 19:42 GMT

    wish Pakistan can finish the series wth a win.

  • Omarr on August 30, 2013, 17:17 GMT

    To all the "analysts": Pakistan has significantly improved their ability to chase while the other has detoriated in the last couple of years.

  • Qaasim on August 30, 2013, 17:02 GMT

    Shezad is a t20 batsman who just cant play a long innings, he starts of too slow then fails to capatilize if he manages a start, so Haris Sohail should be given a chance. Jamshed best start performing otherwise he should be dropped from the south african tour in place of Sharjeel Khan (Jamshed should be told to work on his fitness). Irfan should be rested and Anwar Ali should get a chance (Anwar is better when he bowls a good length stump to stump) in the t20 series he bowled too short.

    Squad should be - Jamshed, Sohail, 'Minnow Basher Hafeez', Misbah, Umar Amin, Shahid Afridi, Sarfraz Ahmed, Anwar Ali, Abdur Rehman, Ajmal, Junaid. (I would prefer a 3 man pace attack but Abdur Rehman performed and deserves a spot). IRFAN SHOULD BE RESTED.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 16:52 GMT

    i dont know background but maruma doesnt look that promising. ZIM played well vs pakistan's bowling . and i think pakistan's youngsters nasir, ahmed, umar, sarfraz have to step up. so far umar played 1 decent innings but not extra ordinary. nasir looked a bit better in 2nd odi but after that india tour he has notr done much .

    Only hafeez was consistent in both innnings, afridi & misbah played 1 innings.

    this batting line up has a long tail if you consider sarfraz as well. if hafeez and misbah fails together then it will be hard.

    they need a medium pace batting allrounder in there. going in with 4 spinners may not work all the time.

  • No featured comments at the moment.