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​Zimbabwe, Pakistan look to fine-tune ahead of 2016 WT20

Wahab returns from injury ahead of first T20I, but home side can't be counted out

​Zimbabwe, Pakistan look to fine-tune ahead of 2016 WT20 - Cricket News
Shahid Afridi will be hoping his team can continue their good run.
Pakistan cricket is on a high, and with good reason. A series win across all formats in Sri Lanka, conditions in which the team hasn't enjoyed in the past, certainly injected the players with a great deal of self-belief.

But Zimbabwe is riding the wave too. It may be coming off two series losses at home, against India and New Zealand, but the team showed a great deal of fight, pulling off a couple of wins in the process.

On Sunday (September 27), the two sides will face off at the Harare Sports Club in the first Twenty20 International of a two-match series. Ahead of the ICC World Twenty20 in India next year, it provides both teams an opportunity to start their preparation in full earnest.

Shahid Afridi, the Pakistan T20I captain, will be hoping his side can continue its good run. In Sri Lanka, Mohammed Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal were among the runs, and they will be expected to carry much of the batting load along with Ahmed Shehzad, Shoaib Maqsood, who is returning from injury, and Afridi himself.

Wahab Riaz, who is also returning to international cricket after he was injured during the Test series in Sri Lanka, will join Sohail Tanvir and Mohammed Irfan in the pace bowling department. And while Afridi and Malik will likely make up the spin attack, Imran Khan, the rookie paceman from Peshawar, and Amir Yamin, the pace-bowling allrounder, have received their maiden T20I call ups and could provide the side with a bit of zing.

For the home side, Sikandar Raza, Hamilton Mazakadza, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Craig Ervine and Sean Williams will play a decisive role with the bat while Elton Chugumbura, the Zimbabwe captain, Tinashe Panyangara, Christopher Mpofu, John Nyumbu and Prosper Utseya will be key with the ball.

The last time these two teams met was when Zimbabwe toured Pakistan earlier this year, with the latter winning the T20I series 2-0. Still, that is no guarantee of what will happen this time around. Pakistan will start as the favourite going into Sunday’s clash, but the home side, looking to build on its gains, can't be counted out either.

Teams (from):

Pakistan: Shahid Afridi (capt), Mohammad Hafeez, Ahmed Shehzad, Mukhtar Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, Amir Yamin, Mohammad Irfan, Bilal Asif, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Rizwan, Imran Khan.

Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Sikandar Raza Butt, Chamunorwa Chibhabha, Graeme Cremer, Craig Ervine, Luke Jongwe, Neville Madziva, Hamilton Masakadza, Christopher Mpofu, Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Taurai Muzarabani, John Nyumbu, Tinashe Panyangara, Prosper Utseya, Malcolm Waller, Sean Williams.

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