The Pakistan-Zimbabwe ODI series is currently tied at 1-1 after Zimbabwe defeated Pakistan by five runs via D/L method in the second ODI on Saturday. With this result, the third match of the ODI series will act as a winner takes it all when the two teams meet once again at Harare Sport Club on Monday.
After winning the T20 series convincingly, Pakistan were eager to wrap up the series, which was possible if the men in green defeated Zimbabwe in the second ODI. However, it was not to be as bad light forced the umpires to stop the game.
Pakistan players were not happy with it as the men in green at the time required 21 runs from 12 balls, which was a huge possibility with Shoaib Malik batting on 96 runs along with Yasir Shah, who was providing good support to the former captain.
"The umpire couldn't see the ball, so he was telling the Pakistan batsmen that 'we're going off'," ESPN Cricinfo quoted Zimbabwe Elton Chigumbura as saying.
"In the game of cricket, you can't relax until the very last ball. But there were a few chances that we didn't take when we were fielding, and that's why they ended up getting so close."
Pakistani players need to keep such things on their back and come out all guns blazing in the third and the final ODI. Right from the T20 series, Pakistan batsmen have been miserable as they have not been able to score runs, as a result of which the pressure has been on the Pakistani bowlers, who have been more than decent.
The Pakistani batsmen need to deliver now for they cannot rely on the bowlers to help them win matches alone. In the second ODI as well, while chasing Zimbabwe's total of 276 runs, Pakistan's top order fell like a pack of cards as they were tottering at 76 for six before Malik came to the rescue.
However, Zimbabwe, though, might have won the game under some controversial manner, they deserved the win after their performance. They scored 276 runs with most of their batsmen chipping in with good scores and their bowlers put in a sensational performance early on.
Zimbabwe coach, Dav Whatmore, was happy with the performance of his team. "Before the game started, we had a lot of negativity towards us, and in some ways it was justified, in other ways I'm not sure. But to turn it around in the way we did with the bat in that first half was just a fantastic effort given the situation that the boys were in at the start of the day. Losing the toss, being asked to bat, and to perform like that and get the score that we did was really heartening," said Dav Whatmore.
Whatmore will ask a similar performance from his team in the third ODI.
Meanwhile, Pakistan, who were favourites to win the series, should come up with their best game and try to clinch the series, which should increase their confidence when they face England in a mega series later in the month.
Where to watch live
Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 3rd ODI match is scheduled for 9:30 am local time (1pm IST, 12:30pm PKT) start. Viewers in India can watch the Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 2nd ODI live on Ten Cricket with live streaming on tensports.com.
Pakistan viewers can watch the Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 3rd ODI on Ten Sports. Live streaming is available on Geo Super Tv.
Viewers in the US can watch the game live on Willow TV with live streaming Willow TV online.