Zimbabwe are fielding as good as a second-string side now against a mighty Pakistan, who have made easy work of the hosts in the first two One-Day Internationals of the five-match series. With wins of 201 runs and nine wickets in the two one-dayers of the series respectively, Pakistan are in a solid position to pick up a series win in the third one-dayer in Bulawayo, owing to the absence of some lead personnel in the Zimbabwe ranks due to the ongoing pay dispute, coupled with injuries to Solomon Mire and Kyle Jarvis. Malcolm Waller then pulled out of the squad ahead of the second ODI, leaving Zimbabwe in dire straits.
Coming into the series, Pakistan needed nothing less than four wins to retain their fifth spot on the ICC ODI rankings. Given how the series has unfolded so far, it doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a challenging task for them to finish with their desired result. That said, to give credit where due, Zimbabwe did put up a fight in the second ODI, despite the result of a nine-wicket thrashing not doing complete justice to how the game unfolded.
After losing early wickets, Peter Moor and skipper Hamilton Masakadza stroked resilient fifties and the middle chipped in with useful starts, although none could carry on as they finished with a sub-par 194. Blessing Muzarabani’s brilliant new-ball spell, where he conceded just 19 from his first five overs, indicated that there could potentially be more to this side than what was seen in the opening ODI. Yet, Pakistan were too good for their opposition as Fakhar Zaman belted a brilliant unbeaten century to take the tourists home.
It is highly likely that the third one-dayer will see Pakistan seal the series, but the hosts will hope to put up a fight at the least. And a semblance of resilience in the previous game would give them some confidence for that.
When: Wednesday, July 18, 2018, at 9:15 AM Local Time
Where: Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
What to expect: The teams will be welcomed by chilly conditions in the morning, with temperature rising to a high of 20 degrees later in the day.
Zimbabwe: Several factors have colluded in Zimbabwe having had to go in with a depleted squad for this series. However, with the side being unchanged for the two ODIs, they may retain the same XI for the third as well.
Pakistan: The visitors wouldn’t want to tweak with their winning combination either.