It is a must-win match for Zimbabwe to stay alive in the series as they take on Pakistan in the second ODI today.
Pakistan eked out a 26-run win in the first match. Their top order played cautiously in the powerplay. Leaving out Fakhar Zaman was a surprise decision, Abid Ali and skipper Babar Azam were dismissed cheaply. Imam-Ul Haq and Haris Sohail struck fine fifties while Imad Wasim led the final flourish smashing 34 runs.
Zimbabwe's only positive was Brendan Taylor's century.
The form of the experienced Sean Williams who has been the rock of the middle order for the last decade has been worrying. His last fifty against Pakistan was way back in Multan in 2008. Tendai Chisoro was batting a spot too high at number 8 and Zimbabwe can bring in Elton Chigumbura into the side.
Pakistan's bowling attack is in fine form as Shaheen Afridi and Wahab Riaz got regular breakthroughs. Haris Rauf and Faheem Ashraf would look to chip in as they went wicketless last match.
"We did everything right except getting over the line, we need to find a way, it's more of a psychological thing, it's not about coming out and hitting more balls in the nets, the belief that we can do it," said Chamu Chibhabha, the Zimbabwe captain.
"We will reflect on where we went wrong and come back strong in the next game, the plan is to give chances to youngsters and utilize them as much as we can, there could be a few changes in the team", said Azam.
In case Shadab Khan is fit, he would play. With Pakistan having a look at the future, the left-hander Khushdil Shah might get a look-in too.
Pitch and Conditions
With all the matches of the tour set to played in Rawalpindi, a different surface may be used with light grass expected on the pitch. With the match starting early, the dew factor will not affect the chase. Clear skies are expected.
Probable Playing XI
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman/Abid Ali, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam (capt), Haris Sohail, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Iftikhar Ahmed/Shadab Khan, Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim/Faheem Ashraf, Haris Rauf, Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi.
Zimbabwe: Brian Chari/Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Brendan Taylor (wk), Sean Williams, Wesley Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Elton Chigumbura/Ryan Burl, Carl Mumba, Richard Ngarava, Blessing Muzarabani
Imam-Ul Haq vs Richard Ngrava
Imam got dismissed for 58 after getting involved in a horrible run out. The left-armer Ngrava went wicketless conceding 49 runs. Imam will look to provide the ideal start for his team while Ngrava will aim to remove him as early as possible.
Brendan Taylor vs Shaheen Afridi
Taylor gave a huge scare to Pakistan with his century. Afridi bagged a five-wicket haul, troubled the top order, and did a decent job at the death overs.
While Pakistan looks more balanced and in form, they must be wary of Zimbabwe's all-round threat. Zimbabwe needs its bowlers to pick up the crucial wickets.
Cricwizz predicts Pakistan to win the match and clinch the series
Featured Image Credits: Criczone