The current circumstances for Pakistan in the Cricket World Cup are not unfamiliar to the nation: even in 1992, when they won the tournament, they were humiliated by the West Indies before they played Zimbabwe. Pakistan currently lie bottom of their pool: an embarrassing statistic. The reason for their position in the table is not just because of the number of defeats they have suffered, but how emphatic they have been.
In a few hours, Pakistan will face Zimbabwe who, though weaker than some of the teams they have faced, cannot be underestimated. These associate nations have stunned the cricketing world by the performance they have shown in this World Cup. Zimbabwe have played three matches, won one and lost two, but they went down fighting in the two games they lost. They made 277 runs against a very strong South Africa and 289 against West Indies, which is worrying for Pakistan, as they are yet to get past 250 in the tournament.
When talking about encounters between these two particular nations in the Cricket World Cup, it is worth mentioning that history favours Pakistan.
Pakistan vs Zimbabwe – head-to-head in World Cups:
Total Matches played : 5
Pakistan Won: 4
Zimbabwe Won: 0
No result/draw: 1
Back to the present day and the result is slightly harder to predict: Zimbabwe have been very impressive, as mentioned earlier, and have a chance of reaching the quarter-finals should they steal a few more wins. Pakistan are yet to win and badly need to up their game. Today’s match is a real ‘do-or-die’ for them: they need to win to stay in the tournament.
Pakistan as a nation had high hopes for its team, and has thus far been disappointed. If they were to fail to get past the group stages, that disappointment would turn to misery and possibly even anger, and the trip home would not be a pleasant one for the team. What’s more, the Pakistan fans will be expecting something special, as always, from Shahid Afridi, who will be celebrating his 34th birthday during the match.
In order to get the whole campaign back on track, Pakistan need to stick with a specialist wicket-keeper and improve the fielding: the men in the field must forget the disasters which have unfolded in previous matches, and focus on the rest of the tournament.
As for Zimbabwe, if the conditions suit them and they continue to put their heads down and work hard as they have in previous matches, they can make life very difficult for Pakistan.
Players to watch for today’s match:
Batsmen: Sean Williams (Zimbabwe) , Brendan Taylor (Zimbabwe)
Ahmed Shehzad (Pakistan), Misbah-ul-Haq (Pakistan) , Shahid Afridi (Pakistan)
Bowlers: Tendai Chatara (Zimbabwe), Prosper Utseya (Zimbabwe)
Shahid Afridi (Pakistan) , Mohammad Irfan (Pakistan)
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