Yasir Shah sinks Zimbabwe with a six-wicket haul
Pakistan 259-6 (Rizwan 75 not out) beat
Zimbabwe 128 (Williams 26) by 131 runs
First One-Day International in Harare
Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bowl first on what looked like a slowish wicket to bat on.
Pakistan openers looked extremely cautious as they conceded maidens in the first two overs of the innings.
Azhar Ali (11) got an early reprieve in the second over when John Nyumbu (1-39) positioned at second slip put down a straightforward chance of Luke Jongwe (1-42).
Tinashe Panyangara (1-66) and Jongwe bowled well in tandem to keep Pakistan down to 12 runs in the first five overs.
However, Azhar failed to make use of the opportunity as he was run-out after being sent off by his opening partner Ahmed Shehzad (12).
It was Nyumbu once again, who hit the stump direct at the strikers end making up for the early drop catch.
Shehzad finally got going with two boundaries in three balls from Panyangara but was dismissed in the same over giving a simple chance to Elton Chigumbura at mid-off.
Jongwe struck again in the 10th over getting the prized wicket of Mohammad Hafeez (10), caught brilliantly by Hamilton Mazadkadza at short cover.
Pakistan were in a precarious position of 35 for three in 10 overs at that stage.
The innings was resurrected by a 65-run fourth wicket stand between Shoaib Malik (31) and Sarfraz Ahmed (44).
The pressure on the duo got released with the introduction of leg-spinner Graeme Cremer (1-45).
He was welcomed to the crease with a boundary and a six in his first two deliveries by Malik. The boundary came of a no-ball.
Pakistan reached the 100-run mark in the 24th over as the duo were looking in control.
But the introduction of off-spinner, Nyumbu changed the tide once again for the home side as he got Malik bowled in his first over.
Sarfraz soon holed out to mid-wicket to a delivery off Graeme Cremer (1-45), leaving Pakistan at 128 for five at the start of the 32nd over.
The rescue act for Pakistan was performed by Mohammad Rizwan (75 not out) and Imad Wasim (61), who put on a 124 run stand for the 6th wicket, to propel Pakistan’s score past 250.
Without taking many risks, Rizwan and Wasim rotated the strike and hit the odd boundary now and then to keep the scoreboard ticking at over six runs per over.
Rizwan’s innings was laced with four boundaries and two sixes, whereas Wasim slammed five boundaries in his run-a-ball knock.
The duo managed to score 22 runs from the last over of the innings to help Pakistan post a respectable total of 259 for six.
Panyangara, Jongwe, Cremer and Nyumbu picked a wicket apiece while Chamu Chibhabha (0-25) was the most economical bowler for Zimbabwe.
Facing a task of scoring more than five runs per over from the onset, Zimbabwe failed to get any sort of momentum in their chase as Pakistan kept chipping away at the wickets column.
Faced with a task of scoring more than five runs per over from the onset, Zimbabwe failed to get any sort of momentum in their chase as Pakistan kept chipping away at the wickets column.
Chibhabha (12) was the first one to fall in the ninth over, while Brian Chari (16) was clean bowled by Yasir (6-26) in the 14th over.
Shah struck once again to dismiss Hamilton Masakadza (15), leaving Zimbabwe at 54 for three at the start of the 18th over.
With the wickets falling in regular intervals, the pressure mounted on Zimbabwe, who never found a way to keep the required rate in check.
Sean Williams (26) and Sikandar Raza (19) put on a stand of 35 runs for the fourth wicket, which was the best partnership in the match for Zimbabwe.
Just when it seemed like Williams was settling down nicely, he tried to hit Malik (3-30) out of the park and was bowled after being beaten in flight.
Zimbabwe lost their last six wickets for only 39 runs as Yasir and Malik ran through the middle and the lower order, accounting for nine wickets between them.
Panyangara (4) was the last wicket to fall, as Zimbabwe were bowled out for just 128 runs with 13 overs to spare.
Apart from Yasir and Malik, Wasim (1-24) was the other wicket-taker for Pakistan, while Mohammad Irfan (0-7) was the most economical bowler.
For his six wicket haul, Yasir was chosen as the man of the match.
The second ODI between Pakistan and Zimbabwe is scheduled to begin on 3rd October in Harare.
© Cricket World 2015