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Zimbabwe-Pakistan 1st ODI One-way Traffic in Bulawayo

Fakhar Zaman in action
Fakhar Zaman in action


Pakistan 308/7 (49.6) 
Zimbabwe 107/10 (34.6)

Zimbabwe, who chose to bowl

Pakistan won by 201 runs

1st Innings
308/7 (49.6 Ov)
RR: 6.16

1st Innings
107/10 (34.6 Ov
RR: 3.06

Following their impressive show in the tri-nation T20 in Harare, Pakistan team arrived in Bulawayo to play in a five match ODI series with their hosts. Hurt and depleted by the absence of a number of senior and experienced players Zimbabwe, could well be facing a possible whitewash. The new faces are being asked to learn whist ‘on the job’, so to speak. On the other hand, Pakistan had the luxury of Mohammed Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Junaid Khan, Yasir Shah and Mohammed Nawaz, all sitting out, the opening match. The tourists are set to rotate players in the five-match series, with all the matches taking place at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo, within a 10-day period. Certainly some over-time available for the ground staff.

Asked to bat in overcast conditions, Pakistan openers, needed luck to survive the first 15 overs. Once that barrier has been crossed, without them being separated, though with only 59 runs on the board, the left-handed pair of Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman, did manage to pick up a tempo, to put on 113 in 24.2 overs. Fakhar’s innings of 60 off 70 balls came to an end with new face, Liam Roche, an 18-year old off-spinner, with only a solitary first-class outing to his name, catching him off his own bowling. Imam, perished in the 46th over, finishing with a career-best 128 off 134 balls with 11 fours and was named Player of the Match. It was a slow going by modern standards but it is early days for the opening batsman. It was a fair criticism to highlight the well documented struggle of Pakistan batsmen. They are both slow in shifting a gear at key stages  of their innings and when boundaries dry up, there is not enough rotation of strike.

Pakistan’s final total of 308-7 off 50 overs, given the inexperience of Zimbabwe bowling, one must say was a shade below of what they could have achieved. Asif Ali, who has unwisely being compared to Shahid Afridi, is a far more compact player than the former all-rounder. He is not merely a ‘hit and miss’ bet for slog overs but in fact a powerful front-line batsman. Today, coming in at number six, a position well suited to him, on his ODI debut, he smashed 46 off 25 balls and it was his dismissal in the 48th over that Zimbabwe was most pleased about for in that period a loss of four wickets, pegged back Pakistan, a little.

Soft dismissals generally feature in sides, low in confidence, for all to see in Zimbabwe reply. In pursuit of a target, perhaps well beyond their capabilities, made a poor start by gifting a couple of wickets to Usman Shirwani.  From that they never recovered and at the half way stage of their innings, they had sunk to 83-6, well out of contest. Ryan Murray, the debutante wicket-keeper, one of the few white players in the Zimbabwe squad, contributed a gritty unbeaten 32. Besides him there was very little meaningful contribution, with only two other batsmen reaching 20. Shadab Khan, had a whale of time, on his way to a career-best ODI figures of 4-32 in a single 9-over spell. In fact five of the Pakistan bowlers tucked in, whilst the ‘easy pickings’ were on offer.

Zimbabwe, all out for 107 in 35 overs, recorded the lowest completed total in an ODI at this ground. Pakistan made a positive start to the series, in its first ODI in the last six months and its first win in the 50-over format of 2018.

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