Zimbabwe aim to focus on process ahead of second one-dayer
Zimbabwe team in a huddle. ©Zimbabwe Cricket
"We need to go back to our process. Most of our batters' dismissals were a little bit soft. We really need to work on that," said Zimbabwe skipper Mary-Anne Musonda after the 178-run defeat in the first one-dayer against Pakistan.
It was their first match since May 2019. For a team that was playing after almost 20 months, Zimbabwe did not start too badly with the ball. They had picked up two wickets in the first ten overs.
At one point, Zimbabwe had Pakistan stuttering at 82 for four. A couple of more wickets and they would have been on top. But that was not the case as the experienced duo of Javeria Khan and Aliya Riaz put on a 157-run stand and turned it around for Pakistan.
Though they had conceded 255 runs, Zimbabwe had their moments on the field with the ball. Left-arm seamer Nomvelo Sibanda's bowling was one of the biggest positives for them.
The major difference between the two sides was their batting. Zimbabwe batters struggled to rotate strike especially against Pakistan spinners, who dismissed half the batting line-up. They managed to score only 33 runs in the 19 overs that were bowled by the spinners. After the match, Musonda had said that the total was chasable on that particular pitch and that they needed to apply themselves better.
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Pakistan, on the other hand, continued their good form from the third T20I match against South Africa. Khan, who came back from injury in the final T20I, along with Riaz, made sure that they recovered from the initial stumble.
Riaz, in particular, walked in while Pakistan was struggling and constructed a rescue act as she did throughout the ODI series against South Africa. Khan, who won the player of the match, said that Riaz was the more deserving candidate for the award.
"It (the plan) was just to bat till the end and make the most of loose balls. I think it was Aliya Riaz, who made the real difference. She kept me calm all the time," she said.
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As far as the bowling is concerned, Diana Baig and Fatima Sana were impressive with the new ball and provided the early breakthroughs. Pakistan stuck to their strengths as the three spinners were all over the Zimbabwe batters.
If there is anything they need to be worried about, it is the form of Muneeba Ali. The left-hander had not been in great form from the South Africa series. Meanwhile, Omaima Sohail has not been able to convert the starts she has had so far. Often, it is the middle-order that has rescued them after their top-order failures.
When the two teams meet again on Friday (February 12) in Harare, the focus will be on how Zimbabwe batters tackle Pakistan's bowling. While the visitors would like to address their top-order issues, for Zimbabwe, as Musonda said they would have to stick to the process to get better rather than worry about results.
Zimbabwe: Mary-Anne Musonda (c), Ashley Ndiraya, Precious Marange, Pelajia Mujaji, Chiedza Dhururu, Modester Mupachikwa (wk), Kellies Ndlovu, Tasmeen Granger, Esther Mbofana, Francesca Chipare, Loryn Phiri, Nomvelo Sibanda, Josephine Nkomo, Audrey Mazvishaya, Christabel Chatonzwa
Pakistan: Javeria Khan (c), Aimen Anwar, Aliya Riaz, Anam Amin, Ayesha Naseem, Ayesha Zafar, Diana Baig, Fatima Sana, Kainat Imtiaz, Muneeba Ali, Nahida Khan, Nashra Sandhu, Nida Dar, Omaima Sohail, Sadia Iqbal, Sidra Nawaz (wk), Syeda Aroob Shah.