LAHORE - Pakistan captain Azhar Ali has said that his team could take advantage of Chigumbura's absence to register its first ODI series in 17 months.

Speaking at the press briefing here at the Gaddafi Stadium Thursday, Azhar said: "It's unfortunate for Zimbabwe to lose Chigumbura who is their main player and is in good form but for us, it will be a good advantage for us to seal the ODI series."

The captain said that the bowlers gave him enough headaches in the first ODI but added the dew factor after 16 to 17 overs also played its part in his fast bowlers' poor performance. "Our batting is doing very well. Pitches are very good for batting so sometimes it gets tough for bowlers and we need improvement in that area," he said.

It is essential for Pakistan to beat Zimbabwe 3-0 to be in contention for 2017’s Champions Trophy as they slipped to No 9 in the rankings after losing 3-0 to Bangladesh last month. “Every match is important for us because Champions Trophy is our main target.”

Stand-in captain Hamilton Masakadza has said the two-match suspension of regular skipper Elton Chigumbura is a big blow for Zimbabwe when it takes on Pakistan in the second one-day international today (Friday). "It's a big blow on both fronts, in terms of the way he's been batting and also in terms of his leadership out there on the field," Masakadza said.

"But what's being done is done, we have to move on from here and hopefully, the guys sitting out step up and fill in his shoes," the stand-in Zimbabwe captain said.

"It's been batter friendly conditions and we expect a lot of high scores, so it's not a real reflection of our bowling. Obviously it was a little bit nervous coming up to Pakistan, but the way we've been received and the way we've been looked after I think everyone is feeling quite at home," he added.

About the massive support of crowd even for his team, Masakadza said: "It's been really refreshing that they supported us. It's something quite different for us which we are not used to it. It's been very good for us to have the crowd behind us as well, it's made us playing a lot better."

"Obviously we haven't played that bad cricket, we've got into good positions at times so it's just a matter of working to make sure we get into the same positions but making sure we try and follow through with better results," Masakadza concluded.