Thursday, October 27, 2022

Pakistan face Zimbabwe in a must win match after India heartbreak

Pakistan Vs Zimbabwe, Optus Stadium, Perth - ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022; Match Preview

It was a case of so near yet so far for Pakistan last Sunday at a jam packed MCG against arch rivals India. That last over heartbreak would generally take considerable time to recoup but the World Cup offers no such solace. They must lift themselves up and face Zimbabwe, who came through the qualifiers topping their group and then saw their opening match against rivals South Africa abandoned due to persistent rain.

Perth, the venue for the game has had the best weather in the ICC Men's T20 World Cup so far and a pitch that has offered considerable pace and bounce to quicker bowlers. Afghanistan and Sri Lanka birth presented ample difficulty to England and Australia while defending modest totals. It might not be a bad idea to win the toss and bat first here as the pitch seems to offer considerably more in the second innings to the bowlers.

The Pakistan batting relies heavily on the opening pair of Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan; both of whom failed against India and will be looking to get into their groove quickly. Shan Masood played a mature innings at 3 but positions 4-7 changing depending on match and opposition. Ifthikhar also played a brilliant cameo on Sunday while Shadab, Nawaz and Haider all failed to get going like the openers. The batting unit will have to click on an expected spicy pitch for Pakistan.

Pakistan fast bowling trio of Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah and Haris Rauf should find Perth to their liking and they'll be smacking their lips having seen the previous two matches being played here. Shadab should also get enough assistance from the pitch as demonstrated by Afghani, Aussie and Lankan spinners.

Zimbabwe batting usually revolves around Sikandar Raza these days and he'll have to bounce back quickly after getting out for a duck against South Africa in a match which was eventually abandoned. Sean Williams, Craig Ervine and Wesley Madhevere and Regis Chakabwa will have to provide support to Raza in negotiating the Pakistani quicks.

Zimbabwe have a decent place attack of their own which can exploit Perth in the likes of Blessing Muzarabani, Tendai Chatara, Luke Jongwe and Richard Ngarava. Zimbabwe would be hoping that Ngarava, who took a fall on the pitch after bowling the final delivery in the last game, is fit enough to start this game.

Key Battles: Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Craig Ervine and Regis Chakabwa Vs Shaheen Shah Afridi

Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan Vs Tendai Chatara and Richard Ngarava

Sikandar Raza and Sean Williams Vs Haris Rauf 

Zimbabwe toured Pakistan last year, so these two teams know each other a little bit. Zimbabwe haven't beaten Pakistan yet in an ICC event but they're a team who look well settled under Dave Houghton and Pakistan might well be susceptible after the events that transpired against India. All in all, we could be in for another close encounter!

Probable Pakistan XI

Babar Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Shan Masood, Iftikhar Ahmed, Shadab Khan, Haider Ali, Asif Ali, Mohammad Nawaz, Haris Rauf, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Naseem Shah

Probable Zimbabwe XI

Craig Ervine, Regis Chakabva , Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Wessly Madhevere, Milton Shumba, Ryan Burl, Luke Jongwe, Richard Ngarva/Brad Evans, Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani

Top 5 Fantasy Picks for Pakistan v Zimbabwe at Optus Stadium, Perth

Haris Rauf

Sikandar Raza

Mohammad Rizwan

Shaheen Shah Afridi

Luke Jongwe

The match will start at 04.30 PM IST (streamed live on Disney Hotstar app & on TV on Star Sports 1)

Which way do you see this match going? Can Zimbabwe pull off a heist?

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