Pakistan: The tourists were expected to brush aside in the opening T20I due to the difference in talent of both the sides as well as their recent morale boosting win in South Africa. But instead they were the second-best side for a vast majority of the game, and could have easily left, had Zimbabwe kept control of the nerves.
Granted that the Harare pitch was double-paced but still Pakistan were expected to do better with the bat. Had it not been for a number of dropped catches, including player-of-the-match Mohammad Rizwan’s, Pakistan could have finished with even smaller total than the 149 they eventually managed.
The two youngsters picked for the opener, Danish Aziz and Haider Ali, both failed. If the team management, having learnt from the 1st match’s experience, would want to bolster that youthful middle-order, they might replace one of Danish and Haider, although it could be a tad unfair.
Considering the difficulty of the opening match, they could also bring in Shaheen Afridi, who was rested in the opener on account of load management.
Zimbabwe: Even in defeat, there were plenty of positives to take for the home team in the first T20I, to go with the obvious negative: their naiveté. They surrendered their position of advantage at the first indication of pressure. Pakistan bowlers did not even have to do anything exceptional except lay the most basic of traps and their generous hosts kept on falling in it.
Among the positives were Tinashe Kamunhukamwe’s solid batting at the top, which was on the slower side but featured some pretty strokes. Like Jongwe also demonstrated his hitting ability down the order. Meanwhile, almost the entire Zimbabwe bowling unit, with the exception of Richard Ngrava, impressed.
The job of Lalchand Rajput will now be to somehow prevent meltdowns and push his team to capitalize on the positives of the previous game.