Fate to favour fighters in Pakistan vs Zimbabwe T20 World Cup clash


The matches of ICC T20 World Cup Super-12 round are in full swing. All the sides are contending to book their semi-finals spot. Unpredictable Pakistan’s campaign began with a heartbreaking last-over defeat against India at the historic Melbourne Cricket Ground last Sunday.

But Pakistan is trying to forget the last match defeat and looking forward to bouncing back for the forthcoming two critical matches in the ICC T20 World Cup.

Skippers also lauded the team effort after the opening match failure and bucked up the players to make a strong comeback in the remaining matches.

In Pakistan camp, players are looking to focus on the remaining competitions to thrash the qualifiers, which made a spot in Super 12 and generate winning momentum ahead of the crucial game against South Africa.

Pakistan’s Muhammad Hasnain runs to deliver a ball during their practice session here on Tuesday ahead of their World Cup T20 match against Zimbabwe on Thursday. — PCB

Every match in the Super 12 round has significance to stepping into the semi-final phase. All of Pakistan’s matches have great significance. Consistent victories will make it easier to advance to the semi-final.

Upcoming Matches

Pakistan’s next two matches will be played at Optus Stadium in Perth. First Green Shirts will play against Zimbabwe on Thursday at 4pm, and then against the Netherlands on Sunday, October 30, at 12pm. After this competition, Pakistan will face Group B’s tough opposition, South Africa, on November 3 at Sydney Cricket Ground.

No chance of a mistake

After the opening match defeat, The Men in Green have no chance to make mistakes in the remaining matches. Every victory will help Pakistan advance to the semifinal stage. Pakistan will also have to focus on improving their run rate in the next two matches. If any upset occurs in both matches, Pakistan’s chances of qualifying for the semi-finals will be slim.

Previous appearances

In past appearances, Pakistan has been dominant against Zimbabwe. Both teams have played 17 T20 International matches. Pakistan won 16 and Zimbabwe only one. So, Babar eleven have a big advantage to maintain their dominance against weak Zimbabwe.

Pakistan captain Babar Azam plays a shot as Zimbabwe wicketkeeper looks on. — AFP/File
Pakistan captain Babar Azam plays a shot as Zimbabwe wicketkeeper looks on. — AFP/File

Key players to watch

Babar Azam is looking forward to bouncing back against Zimbabwe with a bang. The skipper has 3,231 career T20I runs in 93 matches at a strike rate of 129.60.

T20 top-ranked batter, Mohammad Rizwan, is also looking forward to the next T20 World Cup matches to make up for the early departure against India.

Iftikhar Ahmed, who played a brilliant knock against India, is in great form.

Meanwhile, Pakistan’s high-spirited bowling attack is a big threat to the opposite side as Haris Rauf and Naseem Shan look dangerous right now.

On the other side, all-rounder Sikandar Raza is also in amazing touch. He helped the team enter the Super 12 round. He played 4 matches in this tournament and scored 136 runs at a strike rate of 167.50. Sean Williams and Wesley Madhevere are also key players for Zimbabwe.

Former cricketers’ views

Former Pakistan cricketers Abdur Rauf Khan and Tauseef Ahmed have urged Pakistan to play aggressive cricket and forget the opening defeat.

“Zimbabwe and Netherlands are also not easy opponents. They made their spot in Super 12 with brilliant performances, and Pakistan should not take them lightly,” Ahmed said.

“Pakistan has the advantage of its bowling attack and bowlers will easily trap the Zimbabwe openers but in batting, Babar and Rizwan should take advantage in the powerplay.”

Ahmed thinks Shaheen does not seem fully fit and the team management should rest him and field Wasim junior instead.

Tauseef believes that Pakistan is the hot favourite to qualify for the semi-final.

Abdur Rauf Khan (left) and Tauseef Ahmed (right). — File photo
Abdur Rauf Khan (left) and Tauseef Ahmed (right). — File photo

“Shaheen is not in his optimal shape, and coaches should keep him off the field in the critical match against South Africa,” said former cricketer Abdur Rauf.

“Both Shaheen Shah and Fakhar Zaman are not fit enough to give their best,” Rauf said.

“Pakistan’s chances of defeating the weak Zimbabwe and Netherlands are high and it can gain winning momentum before the crucial contest against South Africa.”

“Haider and Asif should shoulder their responsibility in the last overs to play aggressively and make some runs,” he added.

Zimbabwe’s last match result

In the last clash, Zimbabwe got lucky against South Africa as rain rescued it from a certain defeat. Both teams were awarded one point each. 

South Africa and Zimbabwe cricketers shake hands after the match was washed out due to rain. — AFP
South Africa and Zimbabwe cricketers shake hands after the match was washed out due to rain. — AFP

South Africa was on the brink of victory in their revised chase of 64 in seven overs against Zimbabwe when a final spell of showers forced a washout.

Recent Performance

Pakistan: Last five matches, most recent first

L W W L W

Zimbabwe: Last five matches, most recent first

NR W L W W

Perth weather

Perth’s weather is pleasant and breezy, while no rains have been predicted for the next few days.

The squads

Pakistan: Babar Azam (c), Shadab Khan, Asif Ali, Fakhar Zaman, Haider Ali, Haris Rauf, Iftikhar Ahmed, Khushdil Shah, Mohammad Hasnain, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Rizwan (wicket-keeper/batter), Mohammad Wasim, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, and Shan Masood.

Standby players: Usman Qadir, Mohammad Haris, and Shahnawaz Dahani.

Zimbabwe: Craig Ervine (c), Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva, Tendai Chatara, Bradley Evans, Luke Jongwe, Clive Madande, Wesley Madhevere, Wellington Masakadza, Tony Munyonga, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava, Sikandar Raza, Milton Shumba, and Sean Williams.

Standby Players: Tanaka Chivanga, Innocent Kaia, Kevin Kasuza, Tadiwanashe Marumani, and Victor Nyauchi.

Fixtures

27 October – vs Zimbabwe, Perth.

30 October – vs Netherlands, Perth.

3 November – vs South Africa, Sydney.

6 November – vs Bangladesh, Adelaide.





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