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Buoyant Pakistan eyes series win

Zimbabwe will want to build momentum going into the ODIs with a morale-boosting T20I victory

Buoyant Pakistan eyes series win - Cricket News
Pakistan will want to seal the series – it last won a T20I series that consisted of more than one game against Zimbabwe in August 2013.
Pakistan would have been a disappointed side had it not finished the first Twenty20 International against Zimbabwe on Friday (May 22) as the winner, given the festivities following international cricket’s return to the country after six years. 

Zimbabwe, which set Pakistan 172, scored its fourth-highest total in the format, but Pakistan still chased it down. Mukhtar Ahmed, in only his second T20I, scored a brilliant 45-ball 83 to share a 142-run stand with fellow opener Ahmed Shehzad to set the platform for Pakistan’s win, overcoming the wobble in the middle when it lost five wickets for 27 runs. 

When the two teams face off in the second and final T20I of the series in Lahore, ahead of the three-match One-Day International series, they will be looking at getting down to serious business, the emotional wave having settled down.

Pakistan will want to seal the series – it last won a T20I series that consisted of more than one game against Zimbabwe in August 2013. It has since played four two-match T20I series, having lost one and drawn three.

For this, it will want more stability in the middle order. Mohammad Hafeez, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal and Shahid Afridi will have to find their feet before the start of the ODI series. 

It will also want the bowlers to be more consistent, with Bilawal Bhatti and Mohammad Sami, who picked up three wickets in his comeback game, a tad expensive. 

Mohammad Rizwan, Imad Wasim, Nauman Anwar and Hammad Azam did not get a go in the first game. They may, however, be given a shot in the final T20I.

Zimbabwe will be satisfied with its openers, who got off to a good start. Elton Chigumbura and Hamilton Masakadza led the way as the batsmen put up a formidable total. However, it will expect the bowlers to step up and trouble the Pakistan batsmen more. 

Despite the opening loss, the team should be boosted by the knowledge that they took the game to the wire. It wouldn't want a win, and a chance to draw the series, to slip out of its hands again.

Squads (from):

Shahid Afridi (c), Mukhtar Ahmed, Ahmed Shehzad, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Sarfaraz Khan (wk), Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Sami, Bilawal Bhatti, Anwar Ali, Nauman Anwar, Hammad Azam, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim.

Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (c), Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Prosper Utseya, Tawanda Mupariwa, Christopher Mpofu, Tinashe Panyangara, Graeme Cremer, Brian Vitori, Chamu Chibhabha, Charles Coventry, Roy Kaia.

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