Zimbabwe’s safe Pakistan tour raises Australia hopes

Zimbabwe’s stand-in captain Hamilton Masakadza has praised security arrangements in Pakistan, raising hopes among cricket officials that it will convince Australia to tour next month.

Zimbabwe continued their Pakistan tour despite a bomb blast which killed nine people in Karachi last month. They played matches in Karachi, Hyderabad, Multan, Faisalabad and Sheikhupura during their three-week stay.

Australia are scheduled to tour Pakistan for three Tests, five One-day Internationals and a Twenty20 match in March-April, a visit which has come under serious doubt over security fears.

Pakistan complete clean sweep

A new-look Pakistan, without a handful of senior players, drove Zimbabwe into the ground with a comprehensive seven-wicket victory in the final one-dayer in Sheikhupura to clean sweep the Mobilink Cup 5-0. The overcast and bitterly cold conditions didn’t faze debutant Khurram Manzoor and Younis Khan as they chased down a meagre target of 182 with 19 overs to spare.

Jack-in-the-Box Shoaib says Pakistan number one priority

akhterJust when one thought Shoaib Akhtar had become a part of history, the enigmatic pacer has once again returned to the national cricket scene with a bang.

Discarded after a turbulent tour of India and dropped from the central contracts list last month, Shoaib kept a low profile for a while, trying his best not to attract any new controversy. But on Friday, he made an appearance at the National Cricket Academy (NCA) and announced that ‘Pakistan was still his number one priority’.

Zimbabwe seek consolatory win

With Pakistan already having clinched the series with four wins in a row, only pride will be at stake in Sheikhupura as the Mobilink Cup reaches its conclusion with the fifth and final ODI. Pakistan will be aiming for a whitewash, while Zimbabwe will want to finish on a high after failing to capitalise on opportunities throughout the series.

Three more rookies to debut in final one-dayer tomorrow

Three more youngsters are likely to make their One-day International (ODI) debut in Pakistan’s final one-dayer against Zimbabwe in Sheikhupura tomorrow (Saturday).

Talented opening batsman Khurram Manzoor is all set to join fellow openers Nasir Jamshed and Khalid Latif in a list of debutants while medium pacer Wahab Riaz and leg-spinning all-rounder Rizwan Ahmed are also likely to play their maiden ODIs.

Khurram has been knocking at the doors of international cricket with impressive performances at the domestic level. The trio was named in a new 15-man list announced for the final one-dayer by the national selection committee on Thursday.

Malik and Yousuf power Pakistan win

A hundred from Mohammad Yousuf and a fine all-round performance by Shoaib Malik led Pakistan to a comprehensive seven-wicket win over Zimbabwe at Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad. Yousuf and Malik put on 141 for the third wicket to steer Pakistan’s chase, with Yousuf’s 14th century the first in what has been a horribly one-sided Mobilink Cup. Malik’s 88 added to the three wickets he took earlier to restrict Zimbabwe to 244.

Pakistan turn to young talent after securing series

With the series against Zimbabwe secured, Pakistan are now looking forward to test several of their young Turks in the final two one-dayers to be played in Faisalabad and Sheikhupura.

The national selectors on Monday announced a 14-man squad for the fourth one-dayer to be played at the Iqbal Stadium in Faisalabad tomorrow (Wednesday), bringing in talented opening batsman Khurram Manzoor, left-arm medium-pacer Wahab Riaz and young wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. They replace out-of-form opener Salman Butt, all-rounder Yasir Arafat and experienced stumper Kamran Akmal.

Afridi blitz wins Pakistan the series

afridiPakistan wrapped up the Mobilink Cup with a comfortable 37-run victory over Zimbabwe in what was, ultimately a dour, lifeless encounter in Multan. The only spark was provided, inevitably, by Shahid Afridi, who lit up the affair with a 52-ball 85, in the process rescuing Pakistan from a perilous 78 for 5. Zimbabwe battled away in their chase of 273, in particular Sean Williams and Brendan Taylor, but as has been the case at various points on this tour, they let healthy advantages slip.

Hamilton Masakadza to lead Zimbabwe

Hamilton Masakadza will lead Zimbabwe in the third one-dayer in Multan in the absence of regular skipper Prosper Utseya who will miss the game because of an ankle injury.

Utseya’s injury to his left ankle resurfaced while batting in Hyderabad. Utseya was forced to sit out the tour match against Patron’s XI in Karachi with the same problem. Masakadza, who shared an enterprising 137-run third-wicket partnership with Tatenda Taibu in Hyderabad, will now lead the side.

Run-fest expected in Multan

The Mobilink Cup journeys across Sindh to the province of Punjab, with Pakistan aiming for a series-sealing victory against Zimbabwe. A hard surface at the Multan Cricket Stadium, complemented by a lush green outfield, promises a run-spree.

Zimbabwe have already been dealt a blow with Prosper Utseya, their captain, ruled out of the match after an injury to his left ankle resurfaced while batting in Hyderabad. Utseya was forced to sit out the tour match against Patron’s XI in Karachi with the same problem.