The Pakistan cricket team, the board and the fans would have been very happy with international cricket back in the country and even happier with the series victory they have achieved. However a 3-0 score-line, as many fans wanted, was not to be as the 3rd ODI between the two teams was washed out in Lahore.
Even after the suicide attacks close to the Gaddafi stadium a day before, the game caused doubts in the mind of the Zimbabwe players. However, they went ahead with the 3rd ODI. Pakistan won the toss and chose to bat on a dry pitch which showed signs that it might turn later in the day.
Pakistan stuck to Azhar Ali and Hafeez to open the innings and they produced a steady start with 52 on the board at the end of the 10th over without losing a wicket. Hafeez looked confident scoring at ease and reached his half century at run a ball. However Pakistan lost their first wicket in the form of a run out at 105. A direct hit sent Azhar Ali home at 46.
Asad Shafiq joined Hafeez, who was now well settled and was looking for a three figure score. Raza picked Hafeez for 80 playing across the line on a straight delivery. This left Pakistan at 134/2 with two relatively new batsmen on the crease.
Azam joined Shafiq but the partnership didn’t last for more than 17 runs as Shafiq chipped one straight to Williams giving Raza his second wicket. Two over’s later, the experience of Malik was cut short by some excellent fielding and Malik could not find his ground and departed for just 3 runs and left Pakistan at 159/4 in the 32nd over.
Raza continued to pick wickets as he sent Sarfaraz back to the pavilion, with 196 on the board for 25. Hammad Azam and Babar Azam took the score past the 200 mark but at 211, Hammad Azam missed a slog and lost his stump for just 4 runs. Pakistan was reeling at 211/6 in 41 over’s.
Babar then took the bowlers apart and scored his maiden half century and took the score to 256/6 before losing his wicket to Mpofu on 54. A 10 ball 13 from Riaz and a 23 ball 38 from Anwar Ali lifted Pakistan to a respectable 296/9 thanks to a 12 run last over by Panyangara.
Zimbabwe was given a target of 297 in the 50 over’s and though the pitch didn’t have a lot for the bowlers, Zimbabwe would have to play out of their skin to get anything out of the match and the series.
With nothing to lose, Sibanda and Chibhabha started the chase in fine fashion. They looked calm and composed and made the Pakistan bowlers pay for any bad delivery. They made sure that the Pakistan bowlers would not trouble them and scored runs easily.
Wahab Riaz tried to rattle some bones with a ripper that hit Sibanda bang on the helmet and thankfully, he continued playing. But not for long as a part of the Gaddafi Stadium went dark.
The Gaddafi stadium saw the game halted for more than half an hour as the problem with the lights was not sorted out. But as the players and the fans were waiting for the lights, the stadium was hit by a sand storm which made it even difficult for the match to start quickly.
The umpires set a revised target of 281 of 46 over’s in accordance with the D/L method but a thunderstorm, followed by rain made the stadium unusable for cricket made sure that the match was abandoned.
Pakistan, who is 9th in the ODI rankings wanted to finish a 3-0 whitewash, which would have given them a chance to play in the Champions Trophy 2017. But now after the ODI being abandoned, they will have to beat Sri Lanka in their next series to qualify for the Champions trophy. Azhar Ali, the captain of the Pakistan cricket team was named the ‘Man of the Series’ for his brilliant knocks.