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4 big predictions for the Zimbabwe Tri Series

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Last Updated on 6 years by Charbel Coorey

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Image credit: The Advertiser Australia

In case you didn’t know, a T20I Tri-Series begins this week. Before 2018, there had been no such series played in the T20I world (which included full members), but in the space of four months, we would have had four.

This week’s Zimbabwe Tri-Series involving Pakistan and Australia gives me a bit of an empty feeling. After this, Zimbabwe are not due to host any international fixtures until August 2019 when Afghanistan are due to visit. 92% of fans, as part of the ICC’s inaugural survey, said that they are interested in T20 cricket, and we will see some action this week, but in the least popular FTP nation – Zimbabwe.

All three teams face different challenges. Zimbabwe are in all sorts off the field, Australia were in all sorts on the field in England, and Pakistan need to develop greater consistency. In this cricket opinion piece, I will look at four key predictions, while discussing each team’s chances of lifting the trophy next week.

Prediction #1: Zimbabwe won’t win a game

After a heartbreaking end to the World Cup Qualifiers earlier this year, Zimbabwe have seemed to have fallen further in the mire. Graeme Cremer, then captain, and the entire backroom staff, were all sacked in the aftermath. Their financial situation doesn’t seem to be on the improve, with players still awaiting outstanding salaries and match payments, dating back to their tour of Sri Lanka last year.
To make matters worse, they will be without four key players for this series, and are yet to confirm a captain as I write this, just a day out from the series. Brendan Taylor, Graeme Cremer, Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza won’t be participating, which renders it improbable that Zimbabwe will enjoy any success against the number one and two ranked sides in T20I cricket. This is despite having the likes of Kyle Jarvis, Hamilton Mazakadza and Elton Chigumbura in their ranks, who can all fire on their day.
I predict there will be a solemn feel around Harare Sports Club this week.

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Sikandar Raza was player of the tournament in the World Cup Qualifiers

Prediction #2: Leading run scorer – Aaron Finch (Australia)

Australia’s skipper for the series, Aaron Finch, is in excellent touch. 
In England, Australia fiddled with having Aaron Finch down the order in the ODIs, which was a big no-no. Since being moved back to opener in the 4th ODI at Chester-le-Street, Finch has knocked off 206 runs in his last three international innings, including 84 in the recent T20I v England.
Sure, the pitch conditions could be quite slow in Zimbabwe, but Aaron Finch is an excellent striker of the ball and loves batting at the top of the order. In addition, he is a strong leader, and will be keen to lead from the front with the bat. 
There are some candidates for leading run scorer, including Glenn Maxwell, Sarfraz Ahmed, and Fakhar Zaman, but Aaron Finch is looking in super touch, and for me, is a good choice to pick as leading run scorer.

Prediction #3: Leading wicket taker – Shadab Khan (Pakistan)

How good is this kid going?
Shadab was mighty impressive in Pakistan’s recent Test tour of England, scoring runs and bowling with excellent control. On pitches that are expected to be slowish in Zimbawe, against two teams who are suspect against spin, Shadab is a huge chance of taking a bagful of wickets in the next week.
I believe he is greater than a huge chance. I believe he will do it.
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Prediction #4: Winner – Pakistan

This one was really difficult to choose. Do I go with my heart (Australia) or my head (Pakistan)? In thinking about predictions and analysing the game, it’s important to think as rationally as possible. 
All matches will be played in Harare, and as the week goes on, I think conditions will get slower and lower in the middle of the Zimbabwean winter. This suits Pakistan. I have no doubt that if this series was played on faster, bouncier wickets, Australia would dominate, but Pakistan have the know-how and resources to be successful in these conditions. Australia, for me, just aren’t playing spin well enough to be confident about them, highlighted by Moeen Ali bagging a handful of wickets in the recent ODI series.
Of course, there is always the chance that Pakistan can put in a poor performance at the wrong time, but as the number one ranked T20I team, it’s fair they are considered favourites for the tournament. They have won seven matches in a row, and have lost just three of 22 since the World T20 in 2016. Despite not having Babar Azam available for this series, they will be hard to beat.
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So, what do you think of my predictions? Is there anything you think is ridiculous? Do you think I will be looked at as a genius when the series is over?

As always, feel free to leave a comment!

Thanks for reading.

Charbel Coorey
Charbel Cooreyhttps://cricblog.net
Charbel is the owner & founder of cricblog.net, based in Sydney, Australia. He started the website to fulfill his love for the game of cricket. Charbel has been featured on other publications including OP India, Times of India, and The Roar, among others. He is also a keen fantasy sports player. Charbel has also had the privilege of interviewing cricketers on the CricBlog TV YouTube channel, including James Neesham, Rassie van der Dussen, Andrew Tye, Shreyas Gopal, Jaydev Unadkat and Saurabh Netravalkar: https://www.youtube.com/@cricblogtv For any story tips or questions, you can contact Charbel at charbelcoorey@cricblog.net.

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