Pakistan captain Babar Azam will be hoping his team can go one step further and clean sweep Zimbabwe in the 3-match T20 series starting tomorrow.
After wrapping up the ODI series by winning the first two matches by 26 runs and 6 wickets respectively, Pakistan suffered a surprise Super Over defeat in the third and final ODI, despite an almost flawless century by captain Babar Azam. Veteran Zimbabwe batsman Sean Williams also scored an impressive unbeaten 118 to help his side post a formidable total in the tightly contested match.
In a post-match interview after the third ODI, Pakistan captain Babar Azam blamed his side’s poor fielding and dropped catches for the defeat. He also regretted losing 10 points in the newly created World Super League (WSL). “There are 24 matches in the WSL, so it hurts to drop ten points here,” he pointed out. “We’ll look at this series when the next one comes, and give 100% because every match you lose means you lose ten points.” Azam said.
Apart from winning another series for his country, captain Babar Azam would also be hoping to regain the top spot in the ICC Men’s T20I rankings. He was recently bested by Englishman Dawid Malan. Babar, who has been number one for a total of 774 days in four different stretches since January 2018 and was at the top till September this year, is only eight rating points adrift of Malan (877 rating points), who leapfrogged him during England’s 2-1 home series win over Australia.
It would also be interesting to see whether the Men in Green give exciting youngster Abdullah Shafique a chance at the top of the order after he impressed in the recently concluded National Cup.
Zimbabwe, on the other hand, will look to build on from their victory in the third ODI. However, the Africans have only played two T20 games in the entire year, both of which were defeats against Bangladesh. This lack of game time might be a cause for worry, especially given their poor T20 record against their hosts. In 11 previous T20 games against Pakistan, the Zimbabweans have yet to register a single win. Captain Chamu Chibhabha would be hoping his side can turn this dreadful record around.
With the next ICC T20 World Cup in India not too far away in the future, both teams will be looking to build some momentum starting with this 3-match series. Like the ODI series, all three T20 games will be played at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium.
Pakistan Squad for T20 Series: Babar Azam (c), Haider Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Imam ul Haq, Harris Sohail, Abid Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Rizwan, Iftikhar Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Imad Wasim, Rohail Nazir, Shadab Khan, Shaheen Afridi, Mohammad Hasnain, Haris Rauf, Musa Khan, Wahab Riaz, Usman Qadar, Zafar Gohar.
Zimbabwe Squad for T20 Series: Chamu Chibhabha (c), Faraz Akram, Ryan Burl, Brian Chari, Tendai Chatara, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Craig Ervine, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Wessly Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Carl Mumba, Richmond Mutumbami, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, Brendan Taylor, Donald Tiripano, Sean Williams.
Featured Image: Twitter / ICC