Misbah Leads Pakistan To Series Triumph
Pakistan 260-6 (Misbah 67) beat
Zimbabwe 152 (Ajmal 2-15) by 108 runs
Third One-Day International, Harare
A series that started so promisingly for Zimbabwe with a win in Tuesday’s opening ODI, has ended with a huge defeat and the threat of yet another player strike.
Pakistan completed the series win with an emphatic 108-run win in today’s third and final ODI, but the match was almost an afterthought as questions around the likelihood of the subsequent Test series taking place and the forthcoming tour by Sri Lanka happening at all swirled around.
Misbah-ul-Haq led Pakistan to a promising total of 260 for six after they had been asked to bat for the third time in the series after Zimbabwe had won the toss. Openers Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad added 66, with Umar Amin and Sarfraz Ahmed then providing Misbah with support as they posted 260 for six.
Zimbabwe then, perhaps as expected, floundered in their run chase. Players with serious concerns over their futures are not necessarily in the best frame of mind to take on a potent Pakistan bowling attack. Only four men reached double figures as they were bundled out for 152, with Mohammad Hafeez, Saeed Ajmal and Abdur Rehman each helping themselves to a brace of wickets.
Zimbabwe lost Vusi Sibanda early to Hafeez, but Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor sought to rescue the situation with a second-wicket stand of 34. That was to be the second highest partnership of the innings.
Regular wickets fell and Zimbabwe soon found themselves 87 for six. Sikandar Raza was brought into the side at the expense of the out-of-sorts Timycen Maruma but made just six before giving Hafeez a second wicket, while Sean Williams, with rumours surrounding his future in the national side gathering pace, was narrowly run-out.
Malcolm Waller and Prosper Utseya then lent proceedings an air of respectability with an in-vain seventh-wicket partnership of 58. It was, of course, too little too late. Waller was eventually last man out to Saeed Ajmal for 48 as Pakistan completed the comprehensive victory.
It had been set up earlier in the day by their batsmen. All of them contributed, with Jamshed (38) and Shehzad (54) laying the foundations with a steady opening stand. Misbah then guided the middle-order and helped them cope with the temporary retirement of Mohammad Hafeez due to a suspected hamstring strain.
It was the latter overs of the innings, as was the case on Thursday, that really caused Zimbabwe damage. Umar Amin hit 33 off 25 balls, with Sarfraz Ahmed bludgeoning 22 off 13, while Hafeez returned to add his two-penn’orth. Misbah also upped the pace of his innings and 65 runs came off the final six overs.
© Cricket World 2013