by tushar kapri ….
The second leg of the ongoing T20I tri-series in Zimbabwe will commence on Wednesday as the hosts will take on Pakistan. Both the teams have endured heavy losses at the hands of Australia in their previous games and would be looking to put up an improved show. Moreover, this is a must-win encounter for the home side and they have a tough task on their hands to beat the number 1 ranked T20I side in the world.
Hamilton Masakadza was left with no options in the game against the Aussies when Aaron Finch was smashing all the bowlers out of the park. He somehow needs to motivate his troops and bring the best out of them even as they are badly missing their best players who have pulled out of the series due to the issues with the board. But the must-win games have generally got the best out of the most teams and the Men in Red would be hoping for the same.
Pakistan, on the other hand, were brought to earth by Australia as their winning juggernaut came to a screeching halt. Their batsmen failed after a long time in this format and will be careful now while facing the underdog-hosts. Sarfraz Ahmed will also hope, rather believe that the poor performance in that game was only a blip. No wonder they start the game as favourites but anything can happen in the shortest format of the game.
The 22-yard surface at the Harare Sports Club is full of runs as it was once again evident in the third match of the series. The conditions are perfect for cricket in Zimbabwe but the hosts are not being able to score runs and the visiting sides are having fun so far. But the fact that the game will be played repeatedly on same pitches, it might start breaking down as the series progresses.
There might be a few changes in the team for this game as Zimbabwe, as a unit, has failed to perform. Their bowling has been the issue which might see young Brandon Mavuta getting a debut in place of Ryan Burl who has leaked runs. There is also a possibility of Brian Chari being included at the top for Chamu Chibhabha to bring more solidity at the top of the order. Moreover, John Nyumbu can also make way for Malcolm Waller whose exclusion has become a point of discussion.
Probable XI: Brian Chari/ Chamu Chibhabha, Soloman Mire, Hamilton Masakadza (c), Tarisai Musakanda, Peter Moor (wk), Elton Chigumbura, Malcolm Waller, Tendai Chisoro, Chris Mpofu, Brandon Mavuta, Blessing Muzarabani
Despite losing the previous game, Pakistan are unlikely to make any changes unlike they tempt to rest some of the key players. But given the fact that they are not yet through to the final, the team management would go against it and play a full-strength XI for this game at least. The batsmen need to play their ‘A’ game and not take the opposition lightly which should pave the way for the victory.
Probable XI: Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Hussain Talat, Sarfraz Ahmed (c & wk), Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Usman Khan
Probable Top Performers:
Fakhar Zaman (Pakistan) | Soloman Mire (Zimbabwe)
Played – 10 | Pakistan – 10, Zimbabwe – 0
TV – PTV Sports (Pakistan)
Sony Six, Sony Six HD (India)
Live streaming– PTV Sports (Pakistan)
Sony LIV (India)
Match Timings: 13:30 IST
The Prediction is for Pakistan to register their 11th win over Zimbabwe in the shortest format of the game.
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