Karachi: Pakistan was stretched by Zimbabwe in the second Twenty20 International a tad more than in the first as the host scampered to a two-wicket win with just two balls to spare to clinch the series 2-0.
Although Zimbabwe will gain solace from the fact that it pushed Pakistan to the brink, the momentum rests with the home side heading into the three-match One-Day International series.
Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Sami were recalled to the ODI squad after nearly two years out when Pakistan named its squad for the ODI series on Sunday. Malik last played 50-over cricket in June 2013, while Sami did so another year back.
After a whitewash at the hands of Bangladesh earlier last month, much chopping and changing was seen in the squad. Off-spinner Saeed Ajmal didn’t find a place in the team, while Umar Gul, Rahat Ali and Zulfiqar Babar were left out. Yasir Shah is the only specialist spinner in the squad with the bowling workload to be distributed between Wahab Riaz, Junaid Khan, Anwar Ali and Sami.
Ahmed Shehzad reclaimed his place, while Imad Wasim, who made his T20I debut in the second match against Zimbabwe, was also named in the squad.
Umar Akmal, who was recalled for the T20I series, was left out along with Sami Aslam, Saad Nasim and Fawad Alam.
While Zimbabwe lost both the T20Is, it had bursts of excellent batting led by Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda at the top, followed by Sean Williams and Elton Chigumbura.
With bowling a concern, they twice failed to defend 170-plus scores, its brilliant fielding will be an important factor in the ODI series if it has to salvage a win against Pakistan.