Just when we thought that it cannot get more comprehensive than this, Pakistan stunned one and all –including themselves – to come up with one of the finest performances in ODI Cricket and beat Zimbabwe by a colossal margin of 244 runs.
As per reports, Pakistan coach Mickey Arthur wanted Fakhar Zaman to score a double century if Pakistan batted at first. As it turned out, Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first and with it was fulfilled the wish of Arthur.
Zaman (210*) began in formidable fashion, dispatching boundaries one after the other. He was well supported by Imam-ul-Haq at the other end. However, Haq was a little more cautious and went about his business in a more conventional way.
On the other hand, Zaman was just unstoppable as he unleashed his batting prowes in front of a hapless Zimbabwe bowling line up who did not know where to look. It was Shadab Khan who then cleaned up the Zimbabwe middle order and the tail to take Pakistan to a clinical victory.
Several records tumbled on the way with Zaman becoming the first Pakistan batsman to score a double century and the highest scoring Pakistan batsman in ODIs. The opening stand between Zaman and Haq was also of record 304 runs.
For Zimbabwe, there were hardly any positives to take from the match as things kept going downhill. The only silver lining was Tendai Chisoro, the lead Zimbabwe bowler, who bowled at an economy of 5.6. In an innings when runs were scored at an explosive rate of 8, maintaining such an economy was a commendable task.
Skipper Hamilton Masakadza for once showed positive intent as he set out to chase the near impossible 400-run target. With Pakistan already 4-0 up, chances are rife that the team would complete a clean sweep in the 5th and the final ODI of the five-match series.
Pakistan have two choices in front of them – let their regular playing XI go out on the field and put up a perfect show as it has happened till now or to give a few chances to players who have not been tested in the series till now.
One would be really surprised if Pakistan don't win the upcoming match and with it clean sweep the series 5-0.
Now let's have a look at the two squads.
Hamilton Masakadza(c), Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Ryan Murray, Peter Moor, Tarisai Musakanda, Blessing Muzarabani, Liam Nicholas Roche, Malcolm Waller, Brian Chari, Chamu Chibhabha, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Tendai Chatara, Wellington Masakadza, Richard Ngarava, Donald Tiripano
Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Babar Azam, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed(c), Mohammad Nawaz, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Amir, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan, Yasir Shah, Hasan Ali, Haris Sohail
Cricket Betting Tips and Match Prediction*
Who will win? Pakistan
Player of the Match – Tendai Chisoro, Fakhar Zaman
Top Batsman (Runs Scored) - Hamilton Masakadza, Fakhar Zaman
Top Bowler (Wickets taken) - Tendai Chisoro, Shadab Khan
Most Sixes - Hamilton Masakadza, Asif Ali
Team Scores (Batting First) – Pakistan 320+, Zimbabwe 150+
*NB these predictions may be changed nearer the start of the match once the final starting teams have been announced and we will be running ‘In–Play’ features soon, so stay tuned.
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