Pakistan team sealed the five-match ODI series by beating their hosts, Zimbabwe by 9 wickets at the Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo. The tourists could not have asked for more comfortable win for the match only lasted 35 overs. With its seam attack, bang on target, from the word go, they bowled out Zimbabwe for just 67 in the 26th over and then reached the target within the 10-over batting powerplay. It surely must be one of the quickest finishes in an ODI, involving Pakistan. New Zealand’s 64 all out in Sharjah, back in 1986, remains the lowest completed total in ODI by any team, against Pakistan.
Zimbabwe v Pakistan 3rd ODI
July 18th 2018
Venue Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
Winning the toss and electing to bat on a cold, windy, overcast conditions Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza, for he did not expect his side to bat so poorly. In hindsight he would have rather bowled. A lively spell of five overs by Junaid Khan, yet another left-arm pace man, in his first ODI appearance since October 2017, accounted for two batsmen for just 7 runs. By the 18th over Zimbabwe had lost 8 wickets and any hope of staying in the game. All five Pakistan bowlers joined the feast with Faheem Ashraf, an intelligent first-change bowler, picking up, a career-best ODI, 5 for 22 off 8.1 overs. Not surprisingly, he had no competition for Player of the Match award.
Faced with such small target, Fakhar Zaman, in rich vein of form, had no reason to curb his natural aggressive style. His galloped away to an unbeaten 43 off just 24 balls with 8 fours, finishing the game with three consecutive boundaries off left-armer, Richard Ngarava. It was all over in no time and now Zimbabwe, looking vulnerable in every aspects of the game, must be dreading a five-nil whitewash.
The confidence level is certainly low but today’s performance is set to have a demoralizing effect, particularly on the young and inexperienced, members of Zimbabwe squad. A batting debacle at Bulawayo highlights the crisis Zimbabwe Cricket finds itself in, following a pay dispute involving a number of leading players, who have made themselves unavailable till the issue of unpaid match fees and salaries, is resolved. The return of these players – Brendon Taylor, Sikander Raza, Sean Williams and Craig Ervine - who have formed the core of the national team will certainly make Zimbabwe more competitive at international level.
©Cricket World 2018