Zimbabwe fell 12 runs short of beating Pakistan in a T20I for the first time after being well-set in chase of 150. A 56-run third wicket stand between Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Craig Ervine put Zimbabwe on 77 for 2 in the 11th over but Babar Azam’s masterstroke to use Mohammad Hafeez’s offspin, after he has only bowled one over in 14 T20Is since November 2018, sparked a collapse that saw Zimbabwe lose 4 for 18 in 18 balls and left too much for the lower-order to do. Luke Jongwe’s 30 off 23 balls almost pulled off a coup but Haris Rauf defended 20 off the last over to ensure Pakistan took the series lead.
Pakistan’s total was almost single-handedly built by Mohammad Rizwan, who racked up his fifth score of 50 runs or more in his last eight T20I innings, and made 82 of their 149. No-one else contributed more than 15 runs. Pakistan particularly struggled against Zimbabwe’s spinners – Wellington Masakadza and Wesley Madhevere, who conceded 32 runs in five overs between them – and will continue to look for solutions to make their middle-order tick.
“Babar, who last week was named the number-one ranked player in the ICC ODI Rankings, needs 60 more runs to break India’s Virat Kohli’s record of fastest to 2000 T20I runs, which the Indian captain achieved in 56 innings,” said the PCB in a statement.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe captain Sean Williams is hoping to limit Pakistan’s top-order which is in red hot form, especially opener Fakhar Zaman.
“We know that he is coming out of an exceptional series against South Africa. He was more fluent with the bat than anyone else. We know well how to halt his progress and how to restrict him from scoring fluently despite the fact that he had scored two double hundreds during Pakistan’s last visit here,” said Sean about his team’s plans against Fakhar.