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Zimbabwe once again ended up on the receiving end in the third match of the ongoing T20I tri-series. Plenty of records were broken as the home team suffered from the onslaught by the Australian skipper. Finch scored 172 runs off just 76 deliveries, which is highest ever individual score in T20I cricket. Zimbabwe have now lost two in two and will need to win their next two games against Pakistan and Australia respectively. They take on Pakistan on 8th July 2018 at Harare Sports Club.
After conceding 229 against Australia, Zimbabwe never looked in the game despite going at over 10 runs an over with the bat in the powerplay overs. The job was too difficult for Zimbabwe with Australian bowlers bowling at difficult to hit lengths. After a defeat against Pakistan, their day against Australia was even longer and even tougher as compared to what it was like against Pakistan.
The absence of Kyle Jarvis was clearly felt by the home team as their bowlers could not put any pressure on the Australians. They conceded too many runs in the powerplay which allowed the visitors to run away with the game. The only thing that went in Zimbabwe's favor was winning the toss and that too was proved irrelevant by Aaron Finch.
Although their batsmen began particularly quickly, chasing 229 was always going to be daunting. They were going at over 10 runs an over after the powerplay, but irresponsible batting led to their downfall. They were eventually folded for 129, exactly a 100 less than what they conceded. Zimbabwe have lost two games and with a highly inferior NRR of -4.35, they desperately need to win the two games. It isn't going to be easy against the world number one team, but Zimbabwe are notorious for causing upsets and we can't rule a possibility here as well.
Cephas Zhuwao, Solomon Mire, Hamilton Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda, Peter Moor, E Chigumbura, Malcolm Waller, Tendai Chisoro, C Mpofu, WP Masakadza, Blessing Muzarabani.
After the halfway stage in the tri-series, the men in green have won one and lost one. Thanks to their superior NRR, they can afford to lose the game against Zimbabwe, but they would not want to take the home team likely. Unlike Zimbabwe, who were blown away by Australia's batting, Pakistan were the victim of Billy Stanlake's hostile spell. Pakistan got better of Zimbabwe in the first match and would love to do it again to seal their berth in the final.
The number-one ranked side failed miserably against the tall and quick Billy Stanlake who single-handedly knocked four Pakistani batsmen. Stanlake's superb bowling was helped by Pakistani batsmen playing silly shots to good deliveries. Their batting was never able to recover despite Shadab Khan's responsible knock down the order, but it was too little too late.
Defending a subpar total on an excellent batting surface is always a huge task for any bowling lineup and it wasn't any different against Australia. Their bowlers were hammered away to all parts of the ground by Aaron Finch. It is an important game for them as a loss here would virtually make their game against Australia a virtual semi-final. Pakistan are a strong team and have an excellent set of bowlers who just happened to have one bad day. Expect them to come to this match all guns blazing to resume their winning run and get to the final.
Haris Sohail, F Zaman, Hussain Talat, Sarfraz Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz, Hasan Ali, Mohammad Amir.
Pitches are showing sign of sluggishness and batting first will be what captains would want to do after winning the toss.
It's predicted to be a dry and sunny day with a strong breeze expected. Pitch will tend to get slower as the game progresses and chasing might be tricky. SImilar to what has been the case in the series so far, it's going to be a batting paradise with 180 as a par-score.
Zimbabwe's hopes to qualify rest completely on the outcome of this game. A win for them will keep them in the contest for the finals, and a loss will knock them out. While a win isn't as critical for Pakistan here, they'd not like to leave anything for the last league game. Pakistan were on a winning spree prior to their loss against Australia and we expect them to resume that with a win against Zimbabwe.