ZIM vs PAK: After a sublime performance at Harare in the first Test that saw Pakistan coming up trumps over the hosts, Zimbabwe will be pushing themselves harder to drum up a series leveler.
It was an all-round showdown from the visitors that saw their bowlers conjuring a magical display in the first innings, bundling up Zimbabwe for a paltry 176. Shaheen Afridi and Hasan Ali spearheaded the charge as the duo plundered eight wickets between them.
Fawad Alam and Imran Butt belted out a couple of impeccable performances that propelled Pakistan to garner a match-defining 426 in the first innings which handed Zimbabwe a vertiginous mountain to climb only to avert an innings defeat, let aside a victory.
Hasan Ali once again came to the fore as he scalped an imperative fiver, leaving the hosts razed to dust as Pakistan secured victory by an innings and 116 runs.
Despite a meek surrender from the Zimbabweans, there were spasmodic sparks of brilliance from a few players that could instill hopes in the hosts of a fightback.
Head to Head (ZIM vs PAK):
The head-to-head records of these two teams in the longest format of the game are glaringly askew as Pakistan holds an emphatic sway over their counterparts, boasting figures of 10-3 in their favour out of the 18 games that they have played. Shocking, to say the least, but the one-sided dominance is what will place Pakistan psychologically a million lightyears ahead of Zimbabwe.
The weather at Harare has been forecasted to be bright and sunny, in one word what would be an ‘idyllic’ scenario to play a game of cricket.
The surface at Harare isn’t an easy one to play on, however, if one is patient enough to get himself in with a due bit of time spent at the crease, it will be a rewarding spectacle for the batter.
The pitch will be conducive for both the pacers and the spinners with the fast bowlers getting an extra leap of help with the additional movement for grabs.
Captaincy and Vice-Captaincy choices (ZIM vs PAK):
Captain: Babar Azam
Despite Azam departing for a golden duck in the opening match of the series, he has so far had a phenomenal season and is expected to bounce back strongly in the second Test match.
Vice Captain: Brendan Taylor
Though his contributions weren’t really emphatic enough in the first game, he is a big-match player and Zimbabwe’s most effusive stroke-player at the moment. He is known to carve big knocks under pressure and as his nation is heading towards another series collapse, he will have to rise up to the occasion.
ZIM vs PAK Predicted XI:
K Kasuza, T Musakanda, M Shumba, B Taylor (c), R Kaia, R Chakabva (wk), D Tiripano, T Chisoro, B Muzarabani, R Ngarava and S Williams
I Butt, Abid Ali, Azhar Ali, B Azam (c), F Alam, M Rizwan (wk), F Ashraf, N Ali, H Ali, S Khan and S Shah Afridi
Match Prediction: Who Will Lose Today?
It goes without saying that Pakistan has an unrivaled edge going into the game and Zimbabwe will need much more than heroics from one or two of their players if they are to have a chance of residence in the series contention.