LAHORE - Pakistan will take on Elton Chigumbura-less Zimbabwe in the second One-Day International (ODI) of the three-match series today (Friday) here at the Gaddafi Stadium Lahore (GSL), seeking elusive ODI series victory.

Pakistan won their last ODI series against Sri Lanka in February 2014 in the UAE before embarking on a five-series losing streak. With the two T20 internationals and the first ODI victories, the hosts are now eager to win the second ODI as well to seal the series.

Pakistan team has been enjoying massive support by home crowd and therefore, performing exceptionally throughout the series and now they have been eyeing series win to ensure their qualification for the Champions Trophy.

Pakistan batting was excellent during the first ODI and every individual played his role aggressively and skillfully. For the first time, Pakistan's top four went past fifty, with Shoaib Malik leading the way with a brilliant 76-ball 112 to register his first ODI century in six years. Malik also received abundant support from M Hafeez, Azhar Ali and Haris Sohail to help the team post a mammoth total and score an impressive win. 

match starts at 4:00 pm

Zimbabwe, on the hand, also being supported and cheered by Pakistan crowd well and they tried their best to give their hearts out during the first ODI, but failed to chase a mammoth total of 375 set by aggressive Pakistani batsmen. Bowling remained their weak point once again but their batsmen batted well and managed to cross 300 plus. They need a genuine fast bowler to strengthen their bowling department which has hurt them a lot.

Pakistan’s bowling was below-par in the first ODI and they may be tempted to bolster their experience in the bowling. Anwar Ali, who had figures of 81-1, might be replaced by Junaid Khan while Sami, who was making a comeback after three years, might be given another chance after a poor first match.

Heading into the second ODI, Zimbabwe have suffered a major blow. Elton Chigumbura, who blasted 95-ball 117, has been suspended for the remaining two ODIs due to a slow over-rate offence. His absence will throw the team composition in disarray. Opener Hamilton Masakadza will lead in Chigumbura's absence but the captain is not the only man Zimbabwe have to replace, Craig Ervine, who did not bat in the first game, picked up a hamstring injury and will have to sit out. That could open the door for both Charles Coventry and Roy Kaia, who will make his debut if he plays. Zimbabwe may look to give Tawanda Mupariwa a place in the attack, ahead of either Chris Mpofu or Brian Vitori.

Runs have rained in Lahore so far and that's expected to continue, along with the heat. There is no respite as temperatures will be in the 40s again with no rain expected until the series is over.

The second ODI will see Pakistan looking to perform better with the ball, but will enter the match comfortably crowned favourites. Zimbabwe will have to deliver an exceptional performance with the ball if they are to threaten the home team.


PAKISTAN: Azhar Ali (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, M Hafeez, Haris Sohail, Shoaib Malik, Sarfraz Ahmed (wk), M Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Yasir Shah, M Sami, Junaid Khan, Asad Shafiq, Imad Wasim, Anwar Ali, Hammad Azam and Babar Azam.

ZIMBABWE: Hamilton Masakadza (capt), Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Craig Ervine, Charles Coventry (wk), Tinashe Panyangara, Chris Mpofu, Brian Vitori, Tawanda Mupariwa, Chamu Chibhabha, Graeme Cremer, Roy Kaia, Richmond Mutumbami and Prosper Utseya.