After all the promise of a competitive ODI series, the T20Is have been something of a damp squib. Pakistan brought their top form to both weekend games, and illustrated the chasm that evidently exists between a Pakistani side that's rapidly improving and a Zimbabwean unit that needs improvement desperately. teams As you might expect, if these two teams simply go through the motions, Pakistan will nearly always emerge on top and do so with relative comfort.
If anything, the hosts may be slightly disappointed they weren't challenged further to be able to assess how well some of the youngsters afforded opportunities this series would fare in that scenario. Haider Ali and Usman Qadir have both excelled, but they could have been undergoing net sessions for all the intensity of the contest. Haris Rauf's pace has been enough to get him a cluster of wickets, but he may have to demonstrate more nuanced skills against more competitive opponents. And while Babar Azam has scored two sumptuous half-centuries, you wouldn't expect any less of him against the quality of bowling he has faced; if anything, his frustration must centre on a failure to remain at the crease to knock off the winning runs. Pakistan have just turned up and not more, and so far, it's been more than enough.
Much of that is down to Zimbabwe. The visitors haven't come close to a level of performance they will believe they are capable of. In two of the three ODIs, Zimbabwe pushed themselves to the limit. But in the T20Is, even the in-form batsmen have floundered, while with the ball and in the field, Chamu Chibhabha's side has been - at best - lacklustre.
You could level more scathing criticism at Chibhabha himself, who arguably shouldn't be anywhere near this side based on his numbers over the past several years. When a frontline batsman who averages 13.24 over the past four years leads the side out on a challenging tour, it is of little surprise if he returns just 34 runs in five innings. It's a level of performance that's unacceptable for any international side whatever the ranking, and when the middle order doesn't bail Zimbabwe out - as on Sunday - they fall apart alarmingly quickly.
Last five completed matches, most recent first
In the spotlight
These are uncertain times for Fakhar Zaman, for whom being the leading run-scorer in the recent National T20 Cup doesn't seem to have brought international T20 runs. In the format he should be most useful at, at home and against a mediocre attack, Zaman's lack of confidence has been laid bare by the manner of his dismissal on Sunday. A low-percentage, ill-timed drive straight to mid-on sent him back for 5, the 16th consecutive T20I innings in which he has failed to reach 40. In that time, he has crossed 25 only once, and for all his domestic form, Zaman wouldn't be able to complain if the Pakistan selectors - who have shown uncharacteristic patience with him - get twitchy fingers after another failure on Tuesday.
Despite being the highest run-getter for Zimbabwe in the ODI series, Brendan Taylor's twin failures in the T20Is may signal a deeper malaise. He, too, has crossed 40 in T20I cricket just once in the past 16 innings, though he has continued to produce cameos fairly regularly. But against Pakistan, he will need to take more leadership at the top of the innings, especially with Chibhabha out of form. If anything, it may relieve some pressure off the young shoulders of Wesley Madhevere, and give his bowlers something to defend if Zimbabwe are to bat first again.
Pakistan maybe open to some experimentation in the bowling. Mohammad Musa will be itching to get a game, while even Rohail Nazir could get a call-up with the series sealed.
Pakistan (possible): 1 Fakhar Zaman, 2 Babar Azam (capt), 3 Haider Ali, 4 Mohammad Hafeez/Abdullah Shafique, 5 Mohammad Rizwan/Rohail Nazir (wk), 6 Khushdil Shah, 7 Imad Wasim/Faheem Ashraf, 8 Haris Rauf, 9 Wahab Riaz, 10 Mohammad Musa, 11 Mohammad Hasnain
Zimbawe have been somewhat cautious, never quite ringing the changes this series. It would be a surprise to see that change, though with the series gone, they can afford to experiment.
Zimbawe (possible): 1 Chamu Chibhabha (capt), 2 Brendan Taylor (wk), 3 Sean Williams, 4 Wesley Madhevere, 5 Craig Ervine, 6 Sikandar Raza, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Tendai Chisoro, 9 Carl Mumba, 10 Richard Ngarava, 11 Blessing Muzarabani
Pitch and conditions
The pitches prepared for this series have been dry and flat, and expect that to remain unchanged tomorrow. Rain should not be a factor.
Stats and trivia
- Sikandar Raza has batted 34 times in T20Is without being dismissed for a duck. The only active internationals with longer streaks are Kusal Perera (46), Faf du Plessis (47) and David Miller (68)
- Azam has scored six half-centuries in his last nine T20I innings
- Taylor needs 99 runs to become just the second Zimbabwe batsman after Hamilton Masakadza to tally 1000 runs in T20I cricket
Danyal Rasool is a sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo. @Danny61000