Match Preview – Pakistan vs Zimbabwe, Pakistan tour of Zimbabwe 2021, 1st T20I

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Pakistan’s southern Africa adventure has moved to Zimbabwe, where they will play three T20Is and two Tests, seemingly under less pressure than they were across the border. Zimbabwe have not qualified for the T20 World Cup, neither are they part of the World Test Championship. They are, as Pakistan’s head coach Misbah-ul-Haq put it, a side that has “nothing to lose”, which transfers the pressure onto the so-called stronger opposition, who are expected to win.

Certainly, in T20Is, that has been the case. Pakistan have a 100% record against Zimbabwe with victories in all 14 matches they’ve played against each other. The most recent was in a series in November last year where Pakistan were dominant in chasing targets in all three matches.

They’ve become even better at that, achieving their highest and second-highest successful targets in the recently concluded series in South Africa. So Zimbabwe will need to have a plan to stop a prolific top order and their captain Sean Williams is confident they can, with a crop of youngsters that he called “generation next” of Zimbabwe cricket.

Zimbabwe have three uncapped players in their squad – batter Tadiwanashe Marumani , fast bowler Tanaka Chivanga and spinner Tapiwa Mufudza . The Zimbabwe players have also recently played in a domestic T20 competition, ensuring format-specific game time going into this series. In fact, Marumani and Mufudza were among the top performers in the tournament.