Chamu Chibhabha anchored Zimbabwe's innings with a 125-ball 90 © AFP
Chamu Chibhabha anchored Zimbabwe’s innings with a 125-ball 90 © AFP

Zimbabwe have scored a competitive total of 276 for six in their quote of 50 overs against Pakistan in the second One-Day International (ODI) at Harare. The innings was founded on Chamu Chibhabha‘s diligent knock of 90 and given the finishing touches of high velocity by skipper Elton Chigumbura and Sikandar Raza and in part by Richmond Mutumbami. When Chibhabha was dismissed ten short of a well-deserved hundred at the start of the last ten overs, the concern was that Zimbabwe had lost an opportunity to accelerate in the death overs, but Raza joined Chigumbura to quell those fears. SCORECARD: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 2015, 2nd T20I at Harare

Chibhabha showed that he had learnt from his and the teams’ mistakes in the previous game where Zimbabwe were cheaply shot out for about 130. The improvisation, especially against the spinners was very evident. The use of feet was very impressive and while he never was in the kind of flow to score quick and snatch the game away, he kept the scoreboard ticking and anchored the innings. Live cricket updates: Zimbabwe vs Pakistan, 2nd ODI at Harare

He was supported by Brian Chari at one end early on after the early dismissal of opener Hamilton Masakadza. Chari and Chibhabha put on a solid partnership which of 91 runs and after the dismissal of Chari for 39 in the 29th over, Chibhabha was accompanied by Sean Williams. Williams showed promise but was dismissed for eight by Wahab Riaz.

Chigumbura was the next man in and he was not very impressive early on, but got his eye set in and started hitting the ball nicely. After the Chibhabha was dismissed by Riaz, Raza and the captain took the bowling apart even though the ball was still not coming onto the bat very well. Chigumbura was out in a the 49th over in the unfortunate manner of hit-wicket. His 67 came off 55 balls. After his dismissal, Richmond Mutumbami struck a few hard hits. He finished unbeaten with 14 off four balls, while Raza got out in the final over with 32 off 21 balls.

In the bowling department, Riaz was the most impressive and he used his pace and bounce to pick four wickets including Masakadza, Chibhabha, Chigumbura and Williams. The only other wicket of Chari was picked by Mohammad Irfan. Irfan bowled quite well and was also economical in his performance. The spinners had assistance in the pitch but failed to make an impact by way of wickets.

Set 277 to win, Zimbabwe will surely fancy their chances but one can’t rule Pakistan out especially given their solid batting line up and Zimbabwe’s modest bowling attack. Zimbabwe will have to stay buzzed in the field throughout, while the bowlers will have to reciprocate by maintaining high-intensity throughout the innings.

Brief scores

Zimbabwe 276 for six in 50 overs (Chamu Chibhabha 90, Chigumbura 67; Wahab Riaz 4 for 63) vs Pakistan.

(Rishad D’Souza, a reporter with CricketCountry, gave up hopes of playing Test cricket after a poor gully-cricket career. He now reports on the sport. You can follow @RDcric on Twitter)