Zimbabwe will try once again to win a cricket match against Pakistan when the two sides meet in the second One Day International — a match that fans can watch live online — of their three-match series. But in the first match, even though the Zimbabwe players have spoken about their anguish at their steady stream of losses, their batsmen showed little signs of life.
For that matter, Pakistan also appeared sluggish with the bat before rallying to post a respectable, but seemingly attainable 259 for six. But then, even though Zimbabwe had won the toss and elected to bowl first, the Pakistan bowlers simply flattened their hosts, bowling out Zimbabwe's batsmen in 37 overs for just 128.
Pakistan's spinners claimed all 10 of the Zimbabwe wickets, with six going to Yasir Shah alone, marking only the sixth time in the history of One Day International cricket that spin bowling was responsible for a 10-wicket haul.
"I think the Zimbabwean batsmen weren't able to read my variations when I was bowling googlies or flippers or legbreaks, and that was troubling them a lot," said a buoyant Shah after the match.
Several commentators remarked that as the match opened, Zimbabwe's batsmen appeared flat, and their body language made them appear resigned to defeat before their innings even began.
Their 128 score in the First ODI match was barely better than the 123 and 121 they managed in the each match of the two-game T20 series that preceded the ODI set.
To find out how to watch the second Zimbabwe vs. Pakistan ODI live online, see the streaming information at the bottom of this article. The match is slated to get underway at 9:30 a.m. Sunday, October 3, Central Africa Time at Harare Sports Club in Harare, Zimbabwe. In the United States, the start time will be 3:30 a.m. Eastern Daylight Time, 12:30 a.m. Pacific time.
Despite winning all three games across the two limited-overs formats in Zimbabwe so far, Pakistan's dominant bowling and the apparent weakness of Zimbabwe's batting attack has enabled the Pakistan side to disguise its own batting deficiencies.
Pakistan fell to 35 for three in the first ODI before picking up the pace, after opening the two T20 matches at 29 for three and 34 for two.
But Zimbabwe's attack has been even worse, with even their most prolific batsman, Hamilton Masakadza, laboring to score runs. In the first ODI, the normally fearsome Masakadza took 34 deliveries to tally his first 15 runs, according to the ESPNCricinfo report on the Friday match.
Highlights of the First ODI can be viewed in the video at the top of this page.
The India-based website, CricHD, will stream the second Zimbabwe vs. Pakistan ODI at this link, but fans who choose that option will have to put up with numerous advertisements that often cause slowdowns when viewing online. The best way to watch Sunday's Zimbabwe vs. Pakistan cricket match live online in the United States is through Willow TV, which is available via this YouTube link with a monthly subscription fee, as well as on Willow TV's own site, accessible by clicking here.
But there are legal ways to watch Willow TV for free. Certain promotional offers make it possible to watch the all-cricket network, including the Zimbabwe vs. Pakistan ODI series, for a limited period of time, such as the offer at this link — or try the one-month free trial of Sling TV's International Sports Package, which includes Willow. Information on that deal can be found at this link.
India network, Ten Sports, streams the Zimbabwe vs. Pakistan first ODI at this link, while viewers with access to Pakistan internet sites can watch the game live online at this link.
[Images: Michael Steele / Mark Kolbe / Getty Images]