Pakistan will be hosting its first international match in six years. The isolation has hurt more than just the players.
Zimbabwe’s tour of Pakistan, the first by a Test-playing nation since 2009, ended in bizarre circumstances when a floodlight failure, dust storm and heavy rain forced the abandonment of the third and final ODI.
Zimbabwe were cruising along at 62-0 after eight overs – chasing 297 to win – when one of the light towers went out.
This was followed by a dust storm but when play finally resumed, and the tourists given a revised target, only one over was possible before rain forced players off once again.
Play was unable to resume past the cut-off time and the match was called off.
Pakistan won the series 2-0 – their first series-win at home since 2008.
Zimbabwe had agreed to play this ODI despite a suicide blast killing two people near the Gadaffi Stadium on Friday.
The tour marked resumption of international cricket in Pakistan after six years due to security concerns.
On the field, a 115-run opening stand between captain Azhar Ali and Mohammad Hafeez had given Pakistan a solid foundation in a must-win match for the home side.
Despite having already won the series, the hosts had to whitewash Zimbabwe to avoid losing ranking points.
The fall of regular wickets brought the tourists back into the match.
Babar Azam scored a half-century on debut and some late hitting by Anwar Ali and Wahab Riaz took the home side to a respectable total.
The Sialkot-born Sikander Raza was Pakistan’s destroyer-in-chief, picking up three wickets for 59 runs.
In reply, Zimbabwe openers started confidently before being forced indoors and finally off to the airport.
Pakistan 296-9 in 50 overs (Hafeez 80, Raza 3-59)
Zimbabwe 68-0 in 9 overs (Chibhabha 39*, Hafeez 0-10)