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It has been rightly said about Pakistan - they are sometimes brilliant, sometimes terrible, but always unpredictable. They exhibited their unpredictability in their recent match against Zimbabwe as they failed to chase down a rather modest total against Zimbabwe. The series now rests in balance with third match being the one with all to play for. This match is to be played at the same venue of Harare Sports Club, Harare, on 25th April 2021.
While Zimbabwe were nowhere near their best in the previous match, they'll be pretty happy having emerged winners in the last match. Be it with the ball or with the bat, Zimbabwe are yet to step up their game. The likes of Wesley Madhavere and Brendan Taylor are yet to perform to their potential.
If the absence of Sikandar Raza was not enough, the injury to Sean Williams and Craig Williams would have been the last thing that Zimbabwean's wanted. With three of the most experienced guys absent from their lineup, Zimbabwe might just struggle in pressure-cooker situations. The two matches we have seen have been like that and it will take a lot of effort from them to do well if things pan out to be the same.
On paper, Zimbabwe had a decent side when this series started. However, the absence of their three main players has certainly taken that balance away. We haven't seen Brendan Taylor play to his potential yet and it might just be the time that he delivers what is required of him. All in all, Pakistan will need to play out of their skins to challenge this Pakistan side.
Tarisai Musakanda, Wesley Madhevere, Tadiwanashe Marumani, BRM Taylor, Sean Williams, Ryan Burl, Regis Chakabva, Luke Jongwe, Wellington Masakadza, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava.
Pakistan's middle-order was always perceived to be scratchy, but thanks to some terrific performances by their top-order, the middle-order was largely untested. There was a chance for the middle-order to prove that notion wrong, but the way they crumbled under pressure surprised one and all. Up until the previous game, Pakistan appeared to be cruising along in the shortest format of the game, but this recent loss was certainly a massive setback to their World Cup preparations.
Chasing a total of just 119, Pakistan lost their last seven wickets for only 21 runs. The loss will not only rob Pakistan of the momentum they were having, but it will also boost Zimbabwe's confidence. The habit of giving away games from an easy position is something they'll need to look at very quickly.
In recent times, the likes of Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman, and Mohammad Rizwan have been in terrific form. Looking at how the middle-order did, the onus will lie with these three batsmen to not only anchor the innings in the upcoming match, but also accelerate late in the innings. On the bowling front, Pakistan have done a lot better despite their bowlers lacking the experience of playing much cricket outside of UAE and Pakistan.
On paper, Pakistan have a terrific side with a good amalgamation of youth and experience. Their strength was illustrated when they defeated South Africa, albeit a second-string side, in both formats of the game. Pakistan are a little over-reliant on their top-order and if their middle-order can step up and perform the basic jobs, Pakistan should be able to cruise to a win in this upcoming match.
Mohammad Rizwan, Babar Azam, Sharjeel Khan, Fakhar Zaman, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Ahmed, Faheem Ashraf, Hasan Ali, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain.
Pakistan suffered a shocking defeat in the previous match and it is pretty unlikely to see them put back-to-back listless performances. They are a good team and will likely learn from their mistakes. On the other hand, with two major players no longer available, Zimbabwe are left to be a mere shadow of themselves. They lack experience and could prove to be a point of difference in the upcoming match. Considering all those reasons, betting on a Pakistan's win should be the way to go here.
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