Pakistan Wins A High Scoring Fest To Resist A Spirited Zimbabwe
Pakistan 375-3 (Malik 112) beat
Zimbabwe 334-5 (Chigumbura 117) by 41 runs
First One-Day International in Lahore
Shoaib Malik scored a sensational century to help Pakistan win the first game of the three match One-Day International series against Zimbabwe by 41 runs at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
Pakistan won the toss and opted to bat first. There was a lot at stake as the ninth ranked ODI team took on the 11th ranked team for a spot in the Champions Trophy.
Pakistan started very sluggishly reaching just eight for no loss after five overs and 21 for no loss after seven overs.
However, Mohammad Hafeez (86) shifted to a different gear hitting Tinashe Panyangara (1-75) for a four and six in the ninth over.
Azhar Ali (79) got in on the act with consecutive fours in the tenth over from Chris Mpofu (0-70) to take Pakistan to 47 for no loss after 10 overs.
Azhar was the first of the two batsmen to bring up his half century in the 17th over off just 55 balls.
Fortune was on his side too as he was dropped by Mpofu on 52 at long-off, the ball parried over the boundary rope for a six.
Pakistan reached 114 after 20 overs and Hafeez brought up his half century as well in 59 balls off the bowling of Sean Williams (0-42).
They managed to further take the run-rate over six with Hafeez hitting consecutive sixes off the bowling of Sikandar Raza (0-43).
The first breakthrough was affected by Prosper Utseya (2-63) who got Ali to top edge a length ball in an attempt to slog sweep.
Hafeez followed suit in the first ball of Utseya’s next over, bowled while trying to play a pre-meditated paddle.
Pakistan, reduced to 174 for two after 27 overs, had no reasons to worry though as Malik (112) played an absolute blinder from there on.
After a few reasonably quiet overs, Pakistan managed 227 for two at the end of the 36th over.
The carnage started in the second over of the batting power-play, Malik, hitting successive fours off Panyangara.
He repeated it in Panyangara’s next two overs as well. Pakistan reached 263 for two after 40 overs and managed another 112 runs in the last 10 overs.
Malik, who was in lovely touch, smashed Brian Vitori (0-77) for a six and four in the 43rd over.
Panyangara’s figures were further mauled by Haris Sohail (89 not out) who smashed two fours and a six in a 16-run over to take Pakistan to 325 for two.
Malik brought up his century in the 49th over off just 70 balls and smashed two more fours off Mpofu in the same over.
Panyangara bowled a brilliant last over giving away just five runs and getting Malik’s wicket off the last ball.
Pakistan managed 375 for three with Sohail going at a strike rate of 135 and Malik striking the ball at 147.
Zimbabwe started aggressively with Vusi Sibanda (23) hitting Anwar Ali (1-81) for three consecutive fours in the second over.
Raza (36) also stated well getting a flurry of boundaries inside the first 10 overs. However, Zimbabwe’s steady start was spoilt in the 10th over when Ali picked the wicket of Raza who whipped a length delivery straight to midwicket.
Zimbabwe reached 56 for one after 10 overs.
Hamilton Masakdza (73) got a lucky break when his big nick to the wicket-keeper off the bowling of Wahab Riaz (3-47) was not registered by the umpire.
However, a couple of balls later, Wahab had reason to celebrate with a caught and bowled chance that he accepted from Sibanda.
Masakadza and Elton Chigumbura (117) added 114 runs in the next 20 overs for the third wicket to make sure Zimbabwe didn't collapse too early in the chase.
Chigumbura got stuck into Mohammad Sami (0-63) at one point hitting the latter for three successive fours.
Hafeez had a chance to get Chigumbura on 50, but the catch was dropped at midwicket by Asad Shafiq.
Masakadza hit a six the next over but was caught a couple of balls later at deep midwicket to end his run-a-ball innings.
Zimbabwe at that point reached 190 for three after 33 overs, needing 186 runs from the remaining 17 overs.
Chigumbura, going for runs in the batting power-play, offered another opportunity when he was on 65 but was dropped yet again, this time by Hammad Azam (0-29) at deep square leg.
Zimbabwe managed only 40 runs off the five power-play overs, with the required run-rate climbing over 13.
Williams (36) played a 28-ball cameo but top edged one to the wicket-keeper to leave Zimbabwe at 270 for four after 43 overs. Chigumbura got a big over in the 44th, striking Sami for three sixes and a four.
The first six helped him bring up his century in just 89 balls. Zimbabwe accumulated 22 in that over, needing an improbable 84 from the remaining 36 balls.
However, Riaz got the danger man Chigumbura the very next over with a yorker that knocked out the latter’s off-stump.
Zimbabwe could eventually manage only 334 for five in their 50 overs, losing the game by 41 runs.
Riaz was the best bowler on display by a mile picking three wickets but Malik (1-33) was adjudged man of the match for his all-round performance.
© Cricket World 2015