Pakistan host Zimbabwe in Rawalpindi for the first of three ODIs on Friday with the ICC Cricket World Cup Super League at stake.
Pakistan v Zimbabwe, 1st ODI
Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi
Friday, 30 October, 12.30pm local time, 07.30am GMT
Cricket in Pakistan resumes with the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League matches against Zimbabwe, the first ODI games that will be played in the country since the limited-overs series against Bangladesh was abandoned earlier this year. The entire series will be played in Rawalpindi, which will host an ODI for the first time since 2006. The venue did see a Test match earlier in the year when Pakistan hosted Bangladesh in February.
Pakistan vice-captain Shadab Khan will be unavailable for the first #PAKvZIM ODI after injuring his leg during the team's first intra-squad practice match last Friday 🤕— ICC (@ICC) October 28, 2020
Who should fill his spot in the line-up? 🇵🇰 pic.twitter.com/AJhe0UMQX4
Both teams are aware of the context that the Super League brings to bilateral ODIs with Pakistan head coach, Misbah-ul-Haq, skipper Babar Azam and Zimbabwe senior player, Elton Chigumbura stressing on it in the build-up to the series.
Pakistan are without newly anointed vice-captain Shadab Khan after he suffered a leg injury in the intra-squad warm-up match in Lahore. He will be monitored over the week and is expected to be available for the remainder of the series. Azam will lead the Pakistan ODI team for the first time since being appointed as permanent skipper over a year ago.
Zimbabwe too have a new skipper in 34-year-old all-rounder Chamu Chibhabha. The team will be eager to make a mark despite their head coach Lalchand Rajput giving the series a skip. Former international and current bowling coach, Douglas Hondo will take over as head coach for the series.
Remember the last time:
Zimbabwe last played an ODI in Pakistan in 2015. However, the two teams played a full-fledged five-match ODI series in Zimbabwe in 2018. The visitors will want to improve their questionable record in the country in this format. After 19 ODIs against Pakistan in their backyard, Zimbabwe have just one win. The overall record is also in favour of Pakistan, who have won 52 of the 59 matches between these teams.
A lot has changed for both the teams, notably on the leadership front. While Sarfaraz Ahmed was the skipper the last time Pakistan played an ODI, it was Sean Williams leading the side for Zimbabwe.
What they said:
Elton Chigumbura (Zimbabwe all-rounder): "It's important that we have to play to win, not to just compete. So all those mindsets are things that we have spoken about in training and everyone is aware of what we need to do as a team and as individuals when it comes to these international games. Hopefully we start on a good note."
Babar Azam (Pakistan captain): "It's a great honour for me to be able to captain Pakistan in ODI cricket. The ICC league gives every series context, with seven qualifying berths up for grabs. So, we want to put as many points on the board as possible so when we get to the World Cup, people talk about us seriously. In 2011, we qualified for the semi-finals and in 2019, we couldn't get through. I don't think the rankings matter but I want us to start well and I fully trust my team to perform well and qualify."
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