Pakistan scroll to a 201-run win
Pakistan commenced to the five match one day series against Zimbabwe with a crushing win of 201 runs in Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo. Utter domination in both innings resembled strong barometer of strengths between two teams; hosts found no way or other to stand against opponents in the first match of the series.
First it was Imam-ul-Haq, nephew of former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, made 128 off 134 balls in a daunting total of 308-7 after Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza won the toss and elected to field. It was Imam’s second career ODI century, in his fifth match that included 11 boundaries.
Imam was heartedly supported by Fakhar Zaman, Asif Ali and Babar Azam. The opening partner of Imam, Fakhar lifted a half century; approaching 70 deliveries, Zaman hit 60 runs with the help of 7 boundaries.
Pakistan crossed the imposing 300 runs mark at the end when middle order duo Babar Azam and Asif Ali also ran hard for quick runs. Debutant Asif’s 46 run counted 25 deliveries while Azam struck a 34 ball 30.
It was, however, Fakhar’s fourth fifty of Pakistan’s tour.
The hosts’ reply was much uncomfortable. The top-order batsmen of Zimbabwe struggled against Pakistan pace before Shadab ran through the tail as they were bowled out for 107 with 15 overs to spare.
Left-arm fast bowler Usman Khan and seamer Faheem Ashraf claimed two wickets apiece. Usman (2-21) got two wickets in his first two overs while seamer Faheem Ashraf also took two early wickets to let Zimbabwe slipped to 55-5 in the 15th over.
Wicketkeeper-batsman Ryan Murray was the sole survivor, on debut he top scored with an unbeaten 32 to help Zimbabwe passed the hundred run mark.
As Shadab Khan nailed through the lower order of the hosts with 4 wickets in his 9 overs, Zimbabwe nib to the lowest total recorded at the Queens Sports Club.
“If the team performs well, the captain is definitely happy,” Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said. “We could have got more runs in the end but there was overcast conditions.”
“I´m very happy with the career best, and I´ll try to bowl even better in the next game,” an excited Shadab Khan said after the feat; “I´ve been here with Pakistan A, in 2016, and I knew it was a slow pitch. And it helped us as well, especially me as a spinner,” he said.
While Hamilton Masakadza said, “I thought we bowled really well and at the death as well, but we lost it in the middle. Anything around 300 is chase able in Bulawayo, but we had too many soft dismissals. Murray did really well and there is a lot of promise there. We have to back ourselves and comeback stronger with four more games to go.”
Pakistan 308/7 (50 overs)
Imam-ul-Haq 128, Asif Ali 46, Fakhar Zaman 60
Tendai Chatara 2/49, Donald Tiripano 2/60, Liam Nicholas Roche 1/54
Zimbabwe 107 all out (35 overs)
Ryan Murray 32, Tarisai Musakanda 21, Chamu Chibhabha 20
Shadab Khan 4/32, Usman Khan 2/21, Faheem Ashraf 2/14
Result: Pakistan won by 201 runs.
Man of the Match: Imam-ul-Haq