World Cup 2011: Pakistan Vs Zimbabwe – A Preview




World Cup

World Cup

Pakistan look to get their World Cup back on track after the 110 run loss to New Zealand as they square up against Zimbabwe in a Group A encounter at Pallekele. Pakistan had cruised to victories in their opening three games and had transformed from underdogs to favourites within the first 10 days of the tournament. But some shoddy fielding (wicketkeeping), woeful bowling and an uninspired batting performance against New Zealand brought them back to where they begun – as the underdogs.

Zimbabwe, a team that has fallen apart in the last decade, has a similar story to tell. After a strong performance against the Aussies, they thrashed Canada but then succumbed to a 10 wicket loss against New Zealand. Their wicketless display continued as they had to wait 44 overs to separate the openers against Sri Lanka. They started the second innings in a bright fashion against the Lankans as Chakabva and Taylor put on 116 runs in 19.5 overs for the first wicket. But the Zimbabweans collapsed thereafter gifting Lanka a mammoth 139 run victory.

Zimbabwe’s batting depends hugely on the performance of the experienced Brendon Taylor while Chakabva is likely to continue opening the innings. Tatenda Taibu and Craig Ervine were responsible for outbatting Canada at Nagpur and they will be the instrumental factors as to where the innings heads against Pakistan. Elton Chigumbara’s struggle with the bat continued while the absence of accomplished batsmen in the lower middle order may continue to haunt Zimbabwe. Ray Price has been the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers while fellow spinners Prosper Utseya, Greg Lamb and Graeme Cremer haven’t done too badly either. Tinashe Panyangara continued to be expensive against the Lankans and is expected to be dropped for the Pakistani match.

Kamran Akmal’s blunder helped Ross Taylor wreck havoc in the slog overs and his form with the gloves is a major cause of concern for the Pakistani management. Shoaib Akhtar and Abdul Razzaq couldn’t manage the pressure when Taylor was hitting everything out of the park and ended up bowling way too many full tosses.  Another worrying factor for Pakistan is the availability of Umar Akmal, who injured his finger in practice. Ahmed Shehzad will be searching for a few runs before the knockout rounds begin while Shahid Afridi will look to add a few more wickets to his name against the minnows.

Pakistan have a stronger team on paper and are expected to run through Zimbabwe. But it will be interesting to see if they have recovered from the Taylor bashing or will another Taylor, Brendan, continue to haunt them!

Probable Teams:

Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Mohammad Hafeez, Kamran Akmal (Wicketkeeper), Younis Khan, Misbah Ul Haq, Asad Shafiq, Shahid Afridi (Captain), Abdul Razzaq, Abdur Rehman, Umar Gul, Wahab Riaz.

Zimbabwe: Regis Chakabva, Brendan Taylor, Tatenda Taibu (Wicketkeeper), Craig Ervine, Sean Williams, Elton Chigumbara (Captain), Greg Lamb, Prosper Utseya, Graeme Cremer, Ray Price, Chris Mpofu.

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Monish Menon

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Hi, I am Monish Menon from Hyderabad and currently working at Franklin Templeton Investments as a Compliance Business Analyst. Sport has always been my passion since I was a kid and I invest all my non-existent free time by watching, playing, writing and analyzing various sporting events across the world. Apart from being a diehard Manchester United fan and a Ferrari supporter, I believe that Roger Federer is still the best tennis player and Sachin Tendulkar is God. I play club cricket and I also am a part of my organization’s cricket and football squad. Being such a sports fanatic, writing about it is something that came naturally to me and I am glad that I got an opportunity through thesportsmirror.com to share my thoughts with the rest of the world. For other articles written by me, you can visit my blog at www.monishmenon.wordpress.com

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