HARARE: Zimbabwe know they must buck their recent trend and get all three departments of their game to fire if they are going to challenge Pakistan in the three-match one-day series that starts on Tuesday.
Having been whitewashed 5-0 by India in a recent series, Brendan Taylor’s side showed signs of improvement during two Twenty20 matches against Pakistan last week but still lost comfortably because of their inability to play the perfect game.
While the Zimbabwean batsmen successfully moved on from a horror showing against India, the Pakistani targets proved beyond them because of some lacklustre bowling and fielding – and also the brilliance of Ahmed Shehzad, who scored 168 runs in the two games.
With Pakistan promising to field a full-strength side, the hosts know they will need to get everything right if they are to win a game.
“Realistically we need all three departments to function properly,” Zimbabwe assistant coach Steve Mangongo said on Monday.
“That has been the biggest weakness – either the batting does well and the bowling comes short, or vice versa.”
Hamilton Masakadza was restored to the top of the order alongside Vusi Sibanda for the two Twenty20s, and the move brought reward as they put on 50 partnerships in both games.
Mangongo confirmed that the pair would continue to open the batting in the one-day internationals.
“Since the India series, they have got back in form during the T20s and if they can maintain that then we can get a competitive score,” he said.
Although Pakistan will be strong favourites for another series sweep, captain Misbah-ul-Haq confirmed that they will not be taking Zimbabwe lightly.
Asked whether the tourists might use the series to experiment with different combinations, Misbah said: “I don’t think so. Any side at home could be dangerous.
“We would like to give a few youngsters chances but still we will like to go with the main strength and try to win, as it is important for us to win this.”
Having been rested for the Twenty20 matches, left-arm seamer Junaid Khan is expected to come into the side on Tuesday, while batsman Asad Shafiq and allrounder Abdur Rehman will also be in contention. (AFP)