Pakistan beat Zimbabwe in the 2nd ODI match of the 3 ODIs series, and had a chance to win the series here after long period of time. Pakistan is hosting international cricket matches after 6 years and they did not disappoint the fans, winning the match by 6 wickets and sealing the series.
Pakistan’ captain Azhar Ali won the toss and this time he decided to bowl first. Pakistan went with an unchanged side, and Junaid Khan continued to warm the bench. Zimbabwe on the other side made 4 changes, 2 were forced one including their captain Elton Chigumbura, who was suspended for 2 matches due to slow over-rate.
Zimbabwe went in with a different opening combination. Raza was moved lower down the order. Sibanda opened with Chibhabha and the decision to send Chibhabha paid off. He, though missed his century by a run but did his job perfectly well. On the other hand, Sibanda could never kick off and ate a lot of deliveries, scoring just 13 of 47 balls.
In walked Masakadza, the acting captain and a lot was expected of him. He looked good before being dismissed for 18 and then the key player Sean Williams also followed him, dismissed for just 5 runs.
Next was Sikandar Raza, who was dropped down the order as a tactical move and it worked out brilliantly for Zimbabwe. Raza scored a century and took the score past 250 runs. Wicket keeper batsman Mutambami also chewed up a lot of deliveries, scoring just 7 of 26 deliveries at a later stage of the game. None others could make any significant contribution and Zimbabwe scored 268 runs in 50 overs.
Among the bowlers, Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah picked 2 wickets each. Md. Hafeez and Anwar Ali picked 1 each.
Pakistan also changed it’s batting order with Sarfaraz opening the innings in place of Md. Hafeez but the plan failed. Sarfaraz was dismissed for 22. In came Hafeez and couldn’t do anything significant and was dismissed for just 15. The innings was held together by Azhar Ali, who has shown great maturity after being appointed as the captain.
Next came Asad Shafiq, playing almost for a place in the side. He took a lot of deliveries, scoring 39 runs of 59 deliveries. Definetely slower than the need but he stopped the flow of wickets. Haris Sohail then joined Azhar Ali and tey both took Pakistan close to win, before Azhar Ali was dismissed by Mupariwa for 102. It was Azhar’s second century after being appointed as Pakistan’s ODI captain.
It was all left to Shoaib Malik and Sohail to provide the final touch, which they did well. Malik scored 36 runs of 20 balls and Sohail piled up his half century and ensured that Pakistan win by 6 wickets.
Zimababwe missed a good bowler and this caused them the match. None of the bowlers apart from Cremer, who picked up 2 wickets, looked good. Mupariwa and Chibhabha picked 1 wicket each. Also those 2 slow innings by Sibanda and Mutambami caused them the match.