The medium pace of Usman Khan scythed through the Zimbabwe batting order to set up a nine-wicket victory in the second of five ODIs being played in Bulawayo.
Faced with a victory target of 195, Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman put on 119 in 21 overs to lay the foundation. While Imam was run out on 44 off 51 balls, Fakhar went on to his highest ODI score of 117 off 129 balls, with 16 fours. Babar Azam kept him company to the finish line with 29 off 36.
It was Shadab Khan’s leg breaks that undid Zimbabwe last time out, but this time the weakened Zimbabweans, missing eight experienced players, wilted under the nagging accuracy of Usman as he dismissed the openers with 18 runs on the board. He came back later with Hasan Ali, in a left-right pace combination, to clean up the rest as Zimbabwe struggled to 194 in the final over. Usman ended with 4-36; Ali with 3-32.
Industrial dispute and injury had decimated the team. Batsman Malcolm Waller withdrew from the squad last week, citing labour-practice concerns. Injuries ruled out Kyle Jarvis and Solomon Mire, while five other players – including Brendan Taylor and former captain Graeme Cremer – are ‘unavailable’ according to Zimbabwe’s convener of selectors Walter Chawaguta. Until they get paid, that is.
It was left to captain Hamilton Masakadza (59) and Peter Moor (50) to keep the innings together, but they were constantly having to rebuild partnerships.
There are three more ODIs to go before Zimbabwe start rebuilding for their tour of South Africa, where they will play three ODIs and three T20s from 30 September to 14 October.