Bulawayo: After a third thumping in three, this the most demoralising of the lot, Pakistan sealed the five-match ODI series against Zimbabwe at the first time of asking.
Zimbabwe’s 67 was the second lowest total any side has slumped to against Pakistan in ODIs.
It has been a familiar tale throughout this series, of Pakistan dominance in all departments, Zimbabwe failing again and again not just to compete, but to even keep the margin within a reasonable distance, and this was no different.
Once again, it wasn’t exactly down to lack of fight from Zimbabwe’s batsmen – though Chamu Chibhabha, who top-scored with 16, may wish he hadn’t played around his front pad and captain Hamilton Masakadza disgraced himself by skewing an on-the-up drive to mid off.
It was Fahim Ashraf who did the bulk of the damage, taking advantage of the extra opportunity offered by Hassan Ali being rested to claim his maiden ODI five-for.
The beanpole quick could be forgiven for feeling frustrated with his fellow bowlers for squandering his accurate, incisive work throughout the series, and with Zimbabwe’s batsmen – he faced more balls than all but one of the top eight having come out to bat at No.10 within 20 overs of the innings’ start.
He seemed to channel all that frustration into the first delivery of the chase, uncoiling and unleashing a vicious bouncer which targeted Imam-ul-Haq’s helmet, the opener only able fend to the keeper.
It was a sight to behold, and also as good as it got for Zimbabwe, Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam knocking off the required runs inside 10 overs with minimal fuss.
The nine-wicket win meant Zimbabwe claimed the series honours, leading 3-0 with two games to play. On the evidence so far, it is hard not to see them winning all five.