Zaman headlined a 5-0 series whitewash that lacked competitiveness from one side, allowing the other to flaunt their talent in what has to be described as a one-sided contest. The 28-year-old opening batsman just fell short of India’s Virat Kohli when it comes to scoring the most runs in a bilateral series, however he did become the fastest batsman to 1000 ODI runs breaking the previous record of 21 held by five individuals including teammate Babar Azam.
Zimbabwe were completely & utterly outplayed, there’s no two ways about it. From the outset, it looked as if his fellow-Pakistani opening partner Imam-ul-Haq was going to dominate the series after his 128 in the series opener; it appeared as if the 22-year-old was out to prove a point against a weaker opposition in Zimbabwe. Fakhar opened the series with a conservative 60, he found the boundary quite frequently but wasn’t able to convert his good start into three figures. After the first match, it was apparent this series was going to be a terrible mismatch despite the weaker team hosting the tourists. Zimbabwe went down by 201 runs and never looked in the contest.
The opportunity was there for Zaman to turn a good series into a big one, he’d already laid a solid foundation and was ready to launch into action. Right on cue, Zaman produced an unbeaten 117 which included 16 boundaries in Pakistan’s pursuit of 194 to win the match, and they did it comfortably losing only one wicket.
Having lost the toss for a second-consecutive time, the only thing Zimbabwe were doing was speeding up the process of losing the match. It took Pakistan just 25.1 overs to knock over the hosts for a horrendous total of 67, on the flip side it took Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam just 9.5 overs to chase down Zimbabwe’s mediocre score to put them 3-0 up in the series. Zaman finished unbeaten on 43 striking at just under 180, he looked a man in form.
The fourth ODI came around quickly and Sarfraz Ahmed finally won the toss and elected to bat first, it was a chance to put a huge total on the board and keep their batting line-up in form. As it turned out, Pakistan only lost one wicket for a third consecutive match as Zimbabwe’s bowling attack conceded a whopping 399/1. Imam-ul-Haq scored his second century of the series, but it was Fakhar Zaman who stole the show with a colossal 210 not out coming off just 156 balls. This was certainly the innings that put Fakhar Zaman on the map, possibly even the series given his dominance. Smashing 24 fours to the fence plus 5 additional sixes, Fakhar was on track for a record-breaking series.
Zimbabwe got lucky (if you can call it that) in the fifth & final ODI, Zaman looked in sublime touch yet again but was unfortunate to top edge it to the wicketkeeper for 85. Imam-ul-Haq went on to score his third century of the series while Babar Azam unbeaten 106 capped off a dominant 5-0 series-sweep at Bulawayo. Zaman finished the series on 515 runs from his five innings, resulting in a whopping average of 257.50. Amazingly, Fakhar could have easily beaten Virat Kohli’s record of 558 runs in a bilateral series had they batted first in the second & third ODI’s where Zaman finished both innings unbeaten.
Fakhar Zaman v Zimbabwe July 13-22, 2018