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Mukhtar Ahmed Fires Pakistan To A Win Against Zimbabwe

Mukhtar Ahmed Fires Pakistan To A Win Against Zimbabwe
Mohammad Sami made a terrific comeback to international cricket registering figures of 3-36 as Pakistan defeated Zimbabwe by five wickets.
©REUTERS / Action Images

Pakistan 173-5 (Mukhtar 83) beat
Zimbabwe 172-6 (Chigumbura 54) by five wickets
First Twenty20 International in Lahore

Mohammad Sami got three wickets on comeback and Mukhtar Ahmed smacked 83 as Pakistan defeated Zimbabwe by five wickets chasing down 172 at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore in the first Twenty20 International game.

The Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore was abuzz hosting the first International game after six years.

Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bat first. Hamilton Masakadza (43) injected the first shots of momentum with consecutive fours off the second over from Sami (3-36) who returned to the Pakistan team after a long hiatus.

Masakadza managed couple more off Anwar Ali (0-18) improvising to get the ball on the onside.

A big six came from Masakadza’s bat in the fourth over bowled by Bilawal Bhatti (0-37) as Pakistan continued changing their bowlers.

Wahab Riaz (2-38) bowled the fifth and was treated the same way, as Masakada got two more consecutive fours.

It turned out to be a productive power-play as Zimbabwe managed 54 for no loss after six overs, Masakadza managing most of those runs.

However, Sami changed all that in a span of two balls in the seventh over.

First he got Vusi Sibanda (13) with a short quick delivery. The next ball, he got Masakadza to inside edge a quick, short of a length delivery on to his stumps ending his 27-ball knock.

Charles Coventry (14) managed three fours in four balls before he was unfortunately given out caught behind off a short delivery from Wahab, even as replays showed the ball missing the bat and coming off the shoulder.

Shoaib Malik (1-12), another player making a comeback could have had Elton Chigumbura (54) in his first over only for Sarfraz Ahmed to miss the stumping.

Malik didn’t have to wait for long as he got the big wicket of Sean Williams (16) who top-edged a sweep to short fine leg.

Zimbabwe at that point were in a spot of bother at 100 for four after 13 overs. Chigumbura struck three fours, two from edges, off the bowling of Bhatti to get the move on.

Sikandar Raza (17) hit Sami for a six and four before slapping a full toss straight to long-on.

The next over, Wahab went for 17 as Chigumbura hit three consecutive fours. He brought up his half-century in 33 balls with a powerful flick for a six off Sami’s bowling.

Wahab bowled a brilliant final over giving away just five runs even though he dropped a dolly of a catch himself.

Zimbabwe managed 172 in their 20 overs, 58 in the last five, thanks to Chigumbura’s 35-ball knock with a strike-rate of 154.

Pakistan started well with Mukhtar (83) getting two fours off Tinashe Panyangara’s (1-28) wayward first over.

Mukhtar really took off in the third over from Chris Mpofu (0-32) hitting four consecutive fours.

He showed his penchant for hitting successive boundaries, hitting three more off Brian Vitori (1-24) who was otherwise economical.

Ahmed Shehzad (55), who hardly got the strike until then smacked Williams (1-33) for a four and a six, the second shot carted over long-off. Pakistan reached 71 for no loss in their first six overs.

Mukhtar continued his fine striking hitting Graeme Cremer (2-28) for a six over long-off to bring up his fifty in just 26 balls.

The duo brought up their century partnership soon in just 56 balls and by the end of the 10th over, Pakistan were cruising towards victory at 109 for no loss, requiring just 64 from 60 balls.

Raza (0-23) went for runs too, a six and four, in the 11th over. Shehzad brought up his fifty too in 34 balls, with a four off Vitori.

Mukhtar seemed to be in a hurry to finish the game hammering Mpofu for a six and four in the 13th over to take Pakistan to 140 for no loss after 13 overs.

Shehzad lost his wicket against the run of play cutting one straight to point, the partnership equalling Pakistan’s record opening stand of 142.

Mukhtar fell the next over, holing out to long on, the 45-ball knock studded with 12 fours and three sixes as he threw away a well-deserved century on a fabulous occasion.

More unnecessary wickets for Pakistan followed as Mohammad Hafeez (12) took on Williams hitting a four and six before edging one to the wicket-keeper.

Umar Akmal (4) fell cheaply afterward giving cover an easy catch as Pakistan stumbled to 162 for four in 18 overs to turn an easy game into a thriller.

Mpofu gave away just five runs in the penultimate over leaving Malik (7) and Sarfraz (3 not out) to get six runs off the last six balls.

There were more twists in the tail as Malik’s stumps were castled by Panyangara with four more runs needed off the last four balls.

However, Shahid Afridi (4 not out) finished the game with a four, Pakistan playing and winning on home soil after six years, with three balls to spare and by five wickets.

© Cricket World 2015