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Aizaz Cheema reviews Pakistan Shaheens performance in Zimbabwe

  • Action pictures from the series are available hereplease credit @Zimbabwe Cricket while using them
  • Scorecards and other statistics are available here
  • Urdu version of the media release attached here

Harare, 28 May 2023: Pakistan Shaheens will depart from Zimbabwe today after featuring in a series of two four-dayers and six 50-over matches from 3 to 27 May 2023.

The series was played in three cities of Zimbabwe – Kwekwe, Mutare and Harare, with four-dayers hosted in Kwekwe and Mutare, while the six 50-over matches were staged at the Harare Sports Club.

In the first four-day match played at the Kwekwe Sports Club in Kwekwe, Shaheens defeated Zimbabwe A by eight wickets. The highlight of the match was centuries by Omair Bin Yousuf and Mohammad Huraira and 11 wickets from left-arm spinner Mehran Mumtaz.

In the second four-day match played at the Mutare Sports Club in Mutare, wicketkeeper-batter Haseebullah’s second first-class century and seven wickets from Mohammad Ali helped Shaheens to an impressive innings and 41-run win over the hosts.

At the end of two four-dayers, Shaheens’ 24-year-old Omair led the batting charts with 348 runs from three innings, which included his highest first-class score of 250 not out in the first four-dayer. Huraira – who has featured in 24 first-class matches – finished second on the batting charts with 242 runs from two innings at an average of 121.

In the bowling charts, 20-year-old Mehran bagged 15 wickets from two matches, which included two five-fers in an innings. He was equally supported by right-arm fast Mohammad Ali, who remained second on the bowling list with 11 wickets from two matches.

Shaheens then took on Zimbabwe Select for six one-day matches. The Zimbabwe Select line-up consisted of the first-choice players representing the national side, as they viewed the limited-overs series as a chance to prepare themselves for the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Qualifiers 2023, set to take place in Zimbabwe from 18 June to 9 July.

While Zimbabwe Select won the hard-fought six one-day match series 4-2, several Shaheens’ batters and bowlers stood out with strong performances in the series. Omair, who was the top run-getter in the red-ball series, stood second on the batting charts in the white-ball series with 275 runs from four matches, which included 153 in the fourth one-day – his maiden List A century.

Mubasir Khan, the 21-year-old right-handed batter finished with 238 runs from five outings in the series, which included a valiant 115 that went in vain during a steep 386-run chase in the sixth one-day match.

In the bowling unit, Shaheens’ right-arm pacers Aamir Jamal and Shahnawaz Dahani dominated the wickets tally. Aamir topped the table with 16 wickets from six matches, which included one five-wicket haul, while Dahani took 13 wickets from six outings, with four for 43 his best figures in a match.

Head Coach Aizaz Cheema, reviewing the performance of the team, said: “I am extremely proud of the young players in the Pakistan Shaheens team who showcased their skills and potential during the tour. In the two four-dayers, players like Mehran Mumtaz, Omair Bin Yousuf, Mohammad Huraira, and Haseebullah displayed exceptional performances, contributing significantly to our victories. It was a great testament to their talent and dedication to the game.

“However, I am disappointed with our performance in the six-match 50-over series against Zimbabwe Select, where we lost 4-2. As a team, we couldn't perform to our full potential and failed to capitalise on the opportunities presented to us. Had we seized those chances, the outcome could have been different. It was a missed opportunity, and we will work on rectifying our mistakes and improving our team cohesion.

“I must acknowledge the impressive performance of our fast bowlers, who consistently picked up wickets during the 50-over series. Their contributions were instrumental in keeping us in the game and putting pressure on the opposition. In the batting department, Omair Bin Yousuf, Mubasir Khan, and Qasim Akram stood out with their run-scoring abilities, showcasing their potential for the future.

“We will analyse our performances, identify areas for improvement, and work tirelessly to strengthen our team's performance. The Zimbabwe tour has provided valuable lessons and experiences for our young players, and we will use these as stepping stones towards future success. Pakistan Shaheens team is determined to bounce back stronger and continue to develop and groom talented players for the senior national side.”