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If this was a boxing match then it would have been called off because the contest was not fair and one competitor was being pummeled into oblivion. This, though, is cricket and so we have another two matches to look forward top between a full-strength Pakistan team and a hapless Zimbabwe side.
There is nothing much to write about the third ODI side if you are interested in contests. The match got over half an hour before the scheduled break of innings and Pakistan recorded its largest victory in terms of overs remaining.
Here is what you can look forward to in the fourth match.
It always seemed like an implosion from the Zimbabwe side was coming. After all, this is a side that comprises of the second or third choice cricketers from a talent pool that is not very large to begin with. The performance of the Zimbabwe team in the third match shows how much of an effort it must have been for them to compete in the first two matches.
Bowled out for 67 in 25.1 overs and then watching Pakistan chase down the total inside 10 overs has to be embarrassing for the hosts. If this is not incentive enough for the cricket board to mend its differences with the Zimbabwe players then there is nothing that can be done.
Zimbabwe has failed to qualify for this year’s 50 over World Cup and pretty soon things may become tough for them to qualify for the T20 over World Cup as well. In such a situation, it is not impossible to see their test status come under threat too.
For the time being, Zimbabwe has to hope that Hamilton Masakadza, Musakanda, Moor, and Murray are able to put together some runs for Zimbabwe in the upcoming match. This defeat would have stung the players and we would choose one of the above mentioned to be the highest scorer for Zimbabwe. Musakanda among them seems to be the best value at the moment.
He has shown some good form in previous matches and seems to have the talent to be able to score some runs.
There is very little to write about the Zimbabwe bowling and Muzarabani remains the only one with any hope of picking Pakistani wickets without the batsmen throwing away their wickets.
TS Kamunhukamwe, Tarisai Musakanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Peter Moor, E Chigumbura, Ryan Murray, Donald Tiripano, Tendai Chisoro, WP Masakadza, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava.
Pakistan came into some criticism even after winning the first two matches by huge margins. Their fans wanted to see Pakistan crush Zimbabwe to really underscore the gulf between the two sides and that is exactly what they did.
The Zimbabwe batting did not put up any resistance but that should not take away from a couple of excellent performances. Faheem Ashraf took his first five-wicket haul and bowled with impressive pace. He could be the bowling all-rounder that Pakistan is looking to lead them to the World Cup.
Junaid Khan was impressive on his return to international ODI cricket while Usman Khan has been excellent all series. Pakistan is building up a very impressive reserve of bowling talent leading into the World Cup especially now that they have two world-class leg spinners in the mix as well.
The batting for Pakistan did not have much to do. We don’t think Imam Ul Haq is a player for the long term but he is definitely going to be persisted with for some time. Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, and Asif Ali look to be the set core for Pakistan’s batting moving ahead.
Babar Azam got a chance to bat early in this game but he did not have any runs to chase. He is our pick to be the highest scorer for Pakistan in the next game, provided they bat first of course.
Imam-ul-Haq, F Zaman, Babar Azam, Shoaib Malik, Asif Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Shadab Khan, Yasir Shah, Junaid Khan, Usman Khan.
The team winning the toss is likely to bat first
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Bulawayo continues to be cold and dry for this series which is a little uncomfortable for teams from Asia. Pakistan has decided to combat that by finishing matches in record time it seems! A similarly slow and lifeless pitch is expected for the final ODI.
Pakistan can score 300 with ease if they bat first.
Pakistan to win