Tuesday Nov 10, 2020
Pakistan did not take their foot off the pedal in the third and final T20I against Zimbabwe either, sending a young but still pretty powerful unit that inflicted an eight-wicket defeat over their overmatched guests in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
The victory was the construct of the extremely tricky Usman Qadir's four-fer, which restricted the Africans to their lowest total of the series: 129-9.
In response, 20-year-old Abdullah Shafique anchored Pakistan's run chase but unfortunately missed out on a debut half-century, thanks (or not!) to teammate Khushdil Shah's ruthless six-hitting at the end, which quickly ate away all the runs needed for victory as well as Shafique's personal milestone.
Qadir was named both the player of the match (4 wickets) and series (8 overall).
Pakistan win. End of live blog
130-2 after 15.2 overs: Khushdil wraps up the series with a six as Shafique misses out on a debut 50.
Khushdil Shah 36 (15) Abdullah Shafique 41 (33)
124-2 after 15 overs: Shafique is in his 40s and has a maiden half-century in sights but Khushdil does not seem to be in the mood to give his young teammate the chance to get to the milestone. He smokes another four to leave the runs required in single figures.
111-2 after 14 overs: Khushdil with back-to-back sixes to start the over with and cuts for a four as well later in the over.
93-2 after 13 overs: Abdullah Shafique 35 (30) Khushdil Shah 6 (4)
84-2 after 12 overs: Haider's cameo (27 off 20) comes to an end as he nicks a Masakadza ball back to the keeper. Khushdil Shah is new man in. He joins and soon after Shafique cracks an uppish four through cover.
74-1 after 11 overs:
69-1 after 10 overs: Another six for Haider, who races to 21 despite coming to bat just a few minutes ago. His partner Shafique has 24.
60-1 after 9 overs: Both Haider and Shafique hit a six each in the other. Shafique's was the first of his career.
The future of Pakistan batting at display here.
45-1 after 8 overs: Haider Ali 5 (6) Abdullah Shafique 16 (18)
40-1 after 7 overs: Fakhar Zaman (21 off 24) comes down the track, plays the slog he so loves but holes out at deep midwicket.
Haider Ali is in, which means Pakistan now have a pair of 20-year-olds at the crease.
36-0 after 6 overs: Fakhar Zaman 20 (22) Abdullah Shafique 13 (14)
34-0 after 5 overs: This one sees the first six of the innings. It comes off of Fakhar Zaman's willow.
19-0 after 4 overs: Fakhar Zaman 11 (16) Abdullah Shafique 7 (8)
15-0 after 3 overs: Chibhabha has been disappointed with the bat the entire tour and now he drops Fakhar Zaman in the slip cordon. It was slightly difficult but still should have been taken,
9-0 after 2 overs: Just two off this one.
Fakhar Zaman 4 (9) Abdullah Shafique 5 (3)
7-0 after 1 over: Only a boundary off the first over and it comes off the bat of the 20-year-old Shafique.
0-0 after 0 over: In a surprise move, Babar Azam has dmoted himself and sent in debutant Abdullah Shafique to open the innings with out-of-form Fakhar Zaman.
Story at the break: The story here is just as the story was in the first and second T20Is. Zimbabwe batted first but couldn't really bat. They started losing wickets early and never stopped the leak in the face of a bowling attack that was really several notches above their level.
Usman Qadir was the star of the show. He picked up four wickets for a mere 13 runs in his four overs. When the Zimbabweans expected a leg-spinner, he bowled a googly, and when a wrong-un was anticipated, a conventional turner deceived them. A clean sweep is almost inevitable at this point.
129-9 after 20 overs:
126-9 after 19 overs: A run-out. The Africans' running between the wickets was easily the poorest part of their game today, which says a lot. Quite how they've lost just one wicket to a run-out is shocking.
120-8 after 18.1 overs: Another wicket but who cares by this point? Flogging a dead horse is never fun.
120-7 after 18 overs:
110-7 after 17 overs: A couple of boundaries hit in this one but it doesn't matter.
98-7 after 16 overs: Donald Tiripano 16 (15) Wellington Masakadza 1 (1)
87-7 after 15 overs: Qadir was a nuisance for Zimbabwe. He was like a doctor's prescription for grade 2 students: impossible to read. He picks up the wicket of Chigumbura off his final ball, forcing the retiring African to play a sweep and producing an edge that is caught nicely by the agile Rizwan.
Qadir finishes with figures of 4-0-13-4. Had it not been for four byes off a wide ball, he'd have given away just 8 runs for his four-fer.
Shadab Khan and Yasir Shah have genuine reasons to be worried now.
80-6 after 14 overs: Another low target on the cards, and another easy win likely for the home side. Unless something extraordinary happens. Don't bet on it.
76-6 after 13 overs: Shumba 'lions' out of his crease and is deceived by a Qadir googly. He's out stumped for 11.
Elton Chigumbura walks in and gets handshakes from all of Pakistan's 11 players as it is the last innings of his professional career. Covid, who?
The mightily impressive Madhevere becomes Qadir's third victim of the day and second of the over, nicking a conventional turned into the slip where Babar Azam had deployed himself.
Qadir now has seven wickets in the series. A possible player of the series contender? Probably not as Babar is there with his raft of runs but Qadir Jr has impressed with his variety.
74-4 after 12 overs: Shumba, the meaning of whose name has been told a million times by Ramiz Raja since the series began, sweeps Imad Wasim for a pretty six.
65-4 after 11 overs: A pait of 20-year-olds at the crease for Zimbabwe.
Wesley Madhevere 8 (12) Milton Shumba 3 (6)
58-4 after 10 overs: Another wicket for Imad Wasim, another catch for Fakhar Zaman as Ryan Burl departs for just a 1.
57-3 after 9 overs: And just like that, the captain has vanished. Chibhabha (31 off 28) pulls, finds a top edge and deposits a catch into Haider Ali's hands at long leg. Usman Qadir picks up the wicket.
Wesley Madhevere 7 (8) Ryan Burl 1 (1)
55-2 after 8 overs: Zimbabwe captain Chibhabha is finally getting some joy with the bat, albeit in the final match of the tour. He hits a six and a four off this over and now has 31 off 26.
42-2 after 7 overs: Wesley Madhevere 6 (4) Chamu Chibhabha 19 (21)
39-2 after 6 overs: Rauf comes back and just as often does, takes a wicket despite leaking runs. Craig Ervine (4) edges it and Fakhar Zaman takes a good, diving catch.
The very next ball, new man in Wesley Madhevere smashes a four. That's Haris Rauf for you.
32-1 after 5 overs: Musa's first over sees a boundary.
27-1 after 4 overs: Just that one over for Rauf. He's replaced by Imad Wasim, who picks up almost an instant wicket. Taylor (8) gone.
23-0 after 3 overs: Brendan Taylor 7 (9) Chamu Chibhabha 11 (9)
21-0 after 2 overs: As quiet as the opening over was, this one by the wayward Haris Rauf had all the action and not the kind he'd have liked. Four boundaries in the over.
2-0 after 1 over: Just two singles off the opening over.
0-0 after 0 over: Chamu Chibhabha, who has failed in all the matches of this tour, opens the innings again alongside Brendan Taylor. Mohammad Hasnain to bowl the first over.
Team News: Abdullah Shafique, the youngster the Pakistan fans want to see, if finally in the playing eleven. He makes his T20I debut today and replaces Mohammad Hafeez.
Muhammad Musa Khan and Imad Wasim are also back in the line-up in place of Wahab Riaz and Faheem Ashraf.
U-19 captain Rohail Nazir gets overlooked, even though there is practically nothing to gain here with a victory.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam, Haider Ali, Abdullah Shafique, Mohammad Rizwan, Khushdil Shah, Imad Wasim, Musa Khan, Mohammad Hasnain, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf
3pm: Zimbabwe have won the toss and decided to bat first.
2:30pm: Story of the series
Pakistan blew Zimbabwe out of water in the first two matches, rendering this one a dead rubber. The only thing interesting today will be how many of the youngsters and fringe players get the chance today and how they fare.