Friday, 16 September 2011

Pak, Zimbabwe set for T20

If ever there was the perfect time for Zimbabwe to play a couple of Twenty20s, surely it is now. What was clear in their heavy defeat in the one-day series was that third, fourth and fifth gears are all lacking in the batting department, while the bowling could do with a bit more innovation and invention.
As a team Zimbabwe have largely been doing the basics right, and in the process have shown that there's a good deal of talent to work with. However when they've been required to up the tempo in a run chase the necessary fluency just hasn't been there, and a flurry of wickets has generally been the result.
This may have helped Zimbabwe on their return to Test cricket, where most of the batsmen have displayed admirable technique, but they're lacking a dimension to their one-day strokeplay. One hopes that they will therefore approach these two Twenty20s without any fear, and simply look to play with freedom and adventure. The fear of collapse which held them back in the middle overs of the ODIs should not apply here.
Having won the Test and swept the one-day series, Pakistan will view the Twenty20 series as a chance to have a bit of fun. The tour has been a great success, particularly in the way the inexperienced fast bowlers have been blooded. The only member of the touring party not to play a match so far is Rameez Raja, so expect the 24-year-old to enjoy his first international showing in one or both of the matches. Having played a key role with the bat in the Karachi Dolphins' run to the final of their recent domestic Twenty20 competition, where they lost a one-over eliminator to the Rawalpindi Rams, Raja will be one to watch. Misbah-ul-Haq said that there would be two or three changes to the side that took the field in the third one-dayer as Pakistan look to find the right Twenty20 balance. One imagines they will look to field their strongest possible side in the first match, with Saeed Ajmal likely to return, before possibly giving a game to others in the second.

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