Harare: Having beaten Pakistan by seven wickets in the first game, hosts Zimbabwe are a win away from claiming their first ODI series win over the same opponents and with it their first significant bilateral series in 12 years. Following the 5-0 sweep at the hands of a weakened India last month, Brendan Taylor's team are now in the rare position to press for an epic series win over top-class opposition.
Zimbabwe have never beaten Pakistan in bilateral ODI series dating back to 1993; they lost eight and drew one series 1-1 in 1995.
Tuesday's victory was Zimbabwe's first over Pakistan in 15 years, but it remains to be seen if they can reproduce such a performance a second time in less than three days. The win was fashioned in the field where Pakistan lost five wickets for 44 runs after being given a 99-run stand for the third wicket and could only manage 244 for 7, a total that Zimbabwe overhauled with ten deliveries remaining.
Medium-pacers Brian Vitori and Tendai Chatara were economic and claimed two wickets each as Pakistan's batsmen, barring Mohammad Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq, struggled to dominate. These two bowlers will need to be frugal again, while the support act must be sharper. A repeat act of their fine fielding - Prosper Utseya's one-handed stunner was jaw-dropping - would only give Zimbabwe more of an edge.
Half-centuries to Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza paved the way for a historic chase and skipper Taylor's patient 43* and a bullish 39* from Sean Williams proved massive in the successful chase. Needless to say, these batsmen who form the crux of Zimbabwe's batsmen will have to be counted for. Considering the magnanimity of the last win, its unlikely Zimbabwe will tinker with their XI.
For Pakistan, the sloppy batting and lacklustre bowling will be a concern. Openers Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad were far from fluent while the lower middle order managed 20 runs between them. Batting has for long been Pakistan's problem and the way they collapsed in Harare on Tuesday was just another example of adding to a lost cause. Barring Saeed Ajmal, no bowler made inroads and Shahid Afridi's bad day (0 for 51 in nine overs) was a contributor to a shock defeat.
Pakistan are in the unfamiliar position of needing to beat a minnow team to salvage a series, and how they retaliate adds to the appetising fixture.
Zimbabwe: 1 Vusi Sibanda, 2 Hamilton Masakadza, 3 Brendan Taylor (capt/wk), 4 Timycen Maruma, 5 Sean Williams, 6 Malcolm Waller, 7 Elton Chigumbura, 8 Prosper Utseya, 9 Tinashe Panyangara, 10 Tendai Chatara, 11 Brian Vitori
Pakistan: 1 Nasir Jamshed, 2 Ahmed Shehzad, 3 Mohammad Hafeez, 4 Misbah-ul-Haq (capt), 5 Umar Amin, 6 Shahid Afridi, 7 Haris Sohail, 8 Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), 9 Saeed Ajmal, 10 Junaid Khan, 11 Mohammad Irfan
Live Score, News & WC 2019 Updates