Zimbabwe vs Pakistan first T20I preview: Hosts up against tough Pakistan challenge
Zimbabwe are set to take on the world number one T20 side Pakistan in the opening fixture of T20I tri-series on Sunday, July 1 at the Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe: Zimbabwe will be playing on their home ground but they have a very poor record here with just two wins from sixteen T20Is. The hosts have never beaten Pakistan in a T20 fixture. The two teams have faced each other nine times in the past with the latter having won on all nine of those occasions.
While Hamilton Masakadza's performance will be the key for them with the bat, Malcolm Waller, Peter Moor and Solomon Mire also have the potential to score the big runs. With Graeme Cremer and Tendai Chatara not around, Zimbabwe will look to their fast bowlers Jarvis and Muzarabani to take wickets and slow down opposition's scoring rate.
Expected XI: Elton Chigumbura, Kyle Jarvis, Peter Moor, Solomon Mire, Hamilton Masakadza, Tarisai Musakanda, Ryan Burl, Cephas Zhuwao, Malcolm Waller, Blessing Muzarabani and Chamu Chibhabha
Pakistan: The visitors are in red-hot form in this format and will bring lots of momentum with them having won all of their last seven matches. Skipper Sarfraz was the highest run-scorer in the previous series against Scotland while Shoaib is the team's most experienced and successful batsman in the shortest format.
Pakistan have included all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez and uncapped batsman Sahibzada Farhan who has an average of 36.50 in the 20-overs format. The selectors have not considered Babar Azam for this series as he is still recovering from the wrist injury he had sustained in the recent Lord's test match.
The leg-spinner Shadab Khan, who has 27 wickets in 18 matches, will be the go-to man for Pakistan when it comes to spin. While Faheem Ashraf who was impressive in Scotland T20 and Hasan Ali who has 23 T20I wickets are the danger men among the seam bowlers.
Expected XI: Sarfraz Ahmed, Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali, Usman Khan, Mohammad Hafeez, Hussain Talat, Shoaib Malik, Shadab Khan, Faheem Ashraf, Mohammad Nawaz and Hasan Ali.