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Pak vs Zim: 1st T20, Match Preview

Babar Azam plays a shot as Zimbabwe wicketkeeper looks on. Photo: File

HARARE: Pakistan will be looking to trounce Zimbabwe in the first match of the three-match T20I series which will begin from today at the Harare Sports Club.

This is the first time that a series is being played in Zimbabwe by a men’s international team ever since the coronavirus pandemic disrupted the cricketing schedule.

Head coach Misbah-ul-Haq has said his team will be cautious against the Zimbabwe side.

“Pakistan will be carrying the favourites tag especially after their back-to-back series wins in South Africa. On the other hand, Zimbabwe would be under no pressure as they know that they have nothing to lose. Zimbabwe have nothing at stake and would surely be waiting for the Pakistan’s weaknesses and complacency turning the tide in their favour,” said Misbah in a virtual media talk from Zimbabwe, a day ahead of the start of series.

The former skipper added that Pakistan will have to be on its toes throughout the series, trying to make it difficult for the hosts to get a sniff of a weak link.

The match is an important one for Pakistan captain Babar Azam as well as he is only 60 runs short of getting 2,000 T20I runs.

If the Pakistani skipper achieves the feat in the upcoming series against Zimbabwe, he become the 11th player to score 2,000 T20I runs and the fastest man to do so.

“Babar, who last week was named the number-one ranked player in the ICC ODI Rankings, needs 60 more runs to break India’s Virat Kohli’s record of fastest to 2000 T20I runs, which the Indian captain achieved in 56 innings,” said the PCB in a statement.

On the other hand, Zimbabwe captain Sean Williams is hoping to limit Pakistan’s top-order which is in red hot form, especially opener Fakhar Zaman.

“We know that he is coming out of an exceptional series against South Africa. He was more fluent with the bat than anyone else. We know well how to halt his progress and how to restrict him from scoring fluently despite the fact that he had scored two double hundreds during Pakistan’s last visit here,” said Sean about his team’s plans against Fakhar.

Head to head

On the head to head chart, Pakistan have won all five bilateral T20I series against Zimbabwe.

They have won all 14 T20I matches. Pakistan last visited Zimbabwe in July 2018, to feature in a tri-nation tournament involving Pakistan, Zimbabwe and Australia.

Pakistan beat Australia by six wickets at the Harare Sports Club to win the tournament. 

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