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UAE is about to embark on a historic tour of Zimbabwe as its first ever bilateral tour of a test playing nation. This series is part of the reciprocal agreement the two boards had signed in 2017. UAE recently hosted Australia in a one-off T20 international and is now going to play another test nation.
Zimbabwe is going to be missing a couple of its senior players for this series. We don’t think the hosts are going to be taking this series lightly at all. Zimbabwe lost to UAE by 3 runs in a DLS adjusted match during the World Cup Qualifiers, a result that eventually knocked them out of the running for the World Cup.
UAE is going to be traveling to Zimbabwe for the first time to play an ODI series of this magnitude but will be happy to have the experience of former Zimbabwe captain, Graeme Cremer on its side.
The big team news is that Zimbabwe is going to be without Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakazda for this series. Both the players are injured and are not expected to play a role in this series at all. Zimbabwe is going to be led by Peter Moore, the wicketkeeper-batsman, and still have some very talented cricketers at its disposal.
Craig Ervine can be expected to lead the batting and have Solomon Mire, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, and Elton Chigumbura for support. It helps that a number of these batsmen can also chip in with the ball to give the side a very balanced look.
This is actually one of the better batting sides that Zimbabwe has had in recent times and it is unfortunate that this bunch of players is not going to get too much top-class cricket coming its way.
We are looking at Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza to have the most impact for Zimbabwe in this match and in this entire series.
The bowling unit for Zimbabwe is a bit thin. Kyle Jarvis, Donald Tripano, Chris Mpofu, and Tendai Chatara are in the squad but not one of these bowlers is really at the world-class level. Perhaps, Kyle Jarvis, with his experience of playing English first-class cricket comes closest to being top-grade but even his performances have been tapering off recently.
Peter Moor, Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, R Chakabva, Sean Williams, T Maruma, Sikandar Raza, Donald Tiripano, Kyle Jarvis, Tendai Chatara, Brandon Mavuta.
The UAE has welcomed back Rohan Mustafa to the squad ahead of its tour to Zimbabwe giving the side a timely boost. Mustafa was out of the squad due to disciplinary reasons but has since served the punishment he received.
UAE has been one of the better performing associate teams in recent years. That could also be down to the fact that they have a large number of South East Asian origin people living in the country and the fact that the board is comparatively well funded.
We think that winning even one match on this tour should be considered a victory for UAE although we are sure they are going to aim much higher.
The batting for UAE is going to be led by Shaiman Anwar, Chirag Suri, and Rohan Mustafa. Mohammad Naveed, CP Rizwan, and Sultan Ahmed are also good players but the bulk of the runs will have to come from the senior batsmen.
Getting enough runs on the board or being able to chase down totals is going to be the biggest test for UAE. They don’t have the depth in batting or the experience that Zimbabwe does. The hosts may be a shadow of their former selves but they are still composed of a playing group that is used to playing at the highest level of the game.
That is not something that UAE can boast of and that could be the eventual difference between the sides.
The bowling for UAE is steady and can be expected to be competitive in this series. Imran Haider, Mohammad Naveed, Amir Hayat, and Qadeer Ahmed are the ones to watch out for. None of the UAE bowlers are really likely to run through Zimbabwe but they can definitely be expected to ask some tough questions from the opposing batsmen.
Mohammad Naveed, Ashfaq Ahmed, Ghulam Shabber, Rohan Mustafa, Imran Haider, Mohammad Boota, S Anwar, Sultan Ahmed, Muhammad Usman, Chirag Suri, Qadeer Ahmed.
The team winning the toss is likely to want to bat first. The pitch gets slower as the match progresses and so the side batting first has a definite advantage.
Read our guide on toss predictions to learn how we analyze and come up with our tips.
The first ODI between Zimbabwe and UAE is going to be played at the Harare Sports Club, Harare. The weather forecast for the match is expected to be good. There is very little chance of rain and the weather should be comfortable for cricket as well.
The pitch at Harare Sports Club is quite slow. It is going to be flat and offers nothing to the bowlers. The spinners are going to bowl the bulk of the overs in the middle and make the run-scoring difficult.
A score of about 250-270 should be considered par.
Zimbabwe is playing at home and has the more experienced set of players. We think that UAE may be competitive towards the end of the inning but will struggle in the first few matches. We think that Zimbabwe is a safe bet here.
Back Zimbabwe to win.
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