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Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 2nd Test Preview: Hosts need to play attritional cricket to challenge Pakistan

Mohammad Rizwan
Mohammad Rizwan
©Zimbabwe Cricket /PCB

The Zimbabwe batsmen will have to bat for long durations in order to pose any challenge for a strong Pakistan side.

LIVE SCORES - Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 2nd Test


Zimbabwe's hopes come crashing down

Zimbabwe have only won three test matches to date against Pakistan. The first victory came in 1994 -95 when Pakistan won two out of the three matches of the test series. The next and the most historic test victory of Zimbabwe against Pakistan came in 1998-99 when they were successful in winning the three match series 1-0.

The most recent one was registered in 2013. That couple with Zimbabwe's recent form including their brilliant victory against Afghanistan gave hope to the Zimbabwe fans that the team can run Pakistan close in their home conditions.

However, after the way first test match turned out, those hopes have come crashing down.

Toss advantage squandered

Zimbabwe even had the advantage of winning the toss in the first match. All they had to do was to see off the the first session and allow the pitch to settle down.

Unfortunately, they were not able to do that as the team lost their first four wickets for just 30 runs within the first 18.2 overs with Prince Masvaure, Kevin Kasuza, Tarisai Musakanda and Brendan Taylor back in the hut in the first session itself.

From then on, the team was always behind the eight ball and Pakistan did not give them an opportunity to come back in the match. 

Shaheen Shah Afridi and Hasan Ali were the best bowlers for Pakistan in the first innings and picked up four wickets each. They made brilliant use of the moisture on offer in the first innings and before Zimbabwe could make use of the slowness of the surface, half of the team was back in the pavilion.

There was some resistance on the likes of Milton Shumba, Roy Kaia and Donald Tiripano but not enough to take Zimbabwe to even 200.

Pakistan bat once, bat big

By the time Pakistan came out to bat, the pitch had settled down. Pakistan openers Imran Butt and Abid Ali made brilliant use of the conditions, adding 115 runs together. Abid Ali was the first Pakistan wicket to fall for a 144-ball 60.

Imran Butt missed out on a century as he was dismissed on 91 off a marathon 236 deliveries. Fawad Alam continued his rich vein of form, smashing 140 off 204 deliveries with 20 boundaries. Mohammad Rizwan gave him would support with 45 off 106 balls.

If Zimbabwe had any hope of wrapping up the Pakistan innings cheaply, Hasan Ali's 26-ball 30 meant that the team scored well past 400.

Despite Blessing Muzarabani's clean up job - he finished with four wickets from 31 overs while conceding 73 runs - Pakistan had enough in the bank to impose an innings victory.

Prince Masvaure's injury

Another setback for Zimbabwe was that opening batsman Prince Masvaure injured his hand while fielding and did not turn up in the second innings.

Regardless, Kevin Kasuza and Tarisai Musakanda added 48 runs for the opening partnership. At last, the scoreboard pressure and the class of the Pakistan bowling proved a bit too good for them.

Hasan Ali strikes again

Hasan Ali made a mark again in the second innings, taking a well deserved 5-wicket haul while giving away just 36 runs from his 12.2 overs. Zimbabwe were bowled out for 134 in their second innings and lost the match by an innings and 116 runs.

Ali was ecstatic as he received the Player of the Match award, "I have been doing very well in the nets, I am practicing batting as well. I have played in the whole first-class season and I am used to bowling in slow pitches. We didn't dominate the T20s, so put in a lot of effort here. I want to dedicate this award to my newborn daughter."

Sean Williams set to return

While Pakistan are unlikely to make any changes, Zimbabwe captain Sean Williams is expected to return in place of the injured opener Prince Masvaure for the second test.

Let's have a look at the probable playing XIs:

- Kevin Kasuza, Tarisai Musakanda, Sean Williams (c), Brendan Taylor, Milton Shumba, Roy Kaia, Regis Chakabva (wk), Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chisoro, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava 

Pakistan - Imran Butt, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, Babar Azam (c), Fawad Alam, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Faheem Ashraf, Nauman Ali, Hasan Ali, Sajid Khan, Shaheen Afridi

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