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Mukhtar stars in Pakistan’s two-wicket win

Opener hits second successive half-century as home side wins with two balls to spare in stiff chase, takes series 2-0

Mukhtar stars in Pakistan’s two-wicket win - Cricket News
Mukhtar Ahmed scored his second consecutive half-century to help Pakistan chase down a 176-run target with two balls to spare.
Mukhtar Ahmed, the Pakistan opener, struck his second consecutive half-century to help Pakistan pull off a thrilling two-wicket win in the second Twenty20 International against Zimbabwe on Sunday (May 24). 
 
Mukhtar made 62 off 40 balls as Pakistan got to 176 for 8, winning with two balls to spare and sweeping the two-match T20I series 2-0. Earlier, Zimbabwe's top order came good after Elton Chigumbura elected to bat, with a competitive 175 for 3 in 20 overs at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
 
Mukhtar put on 44 for the opening wicket before Brian Vitori had Ahmed Shehzad caught by Vusi Sibanda for 18. He then added another 37 with Nauman Anwar (18), the debutant, to take Pakistan to 81 for 1 in the ninth over. Prosper Utseya then had Anwar caught for 18. 
 
Thereafter, Zimbabwe's bowlers fought back with some quick wickets. Shoaib Malik was run out for 7. Mukhtar then holed out to mid-on and when he departed, Pakistan was 117 for 4 in 13.3 overs. 
 
Zimbabwe's bowlers continued to chip away at the wickets and the score would soon become 161 for 8. The equation came down to 12 off the last over, bowled by Vitori, the left-arm pacer. Bilawal Bhatti, Pakistan's No. 10, held his nerve to hit a six and four besides taking a double to help Pakistan overhaul the target. 
 
Earlier, Sibanda (49) and Hamilton Masakadza (39) began in bright fashion, putting on 68 for the opening wicket in 8.3 overs for Zimbabwe. Masakadza hit three successive boundaries off Bilawal Bhatti, the right-arm seamer, before Shoaib Malik provided the breakthrough when he had Masakadza caught.
 
Sibanda then added another 68 with Sean Williams for the second wicket before he was caught off Shahid Afridi.   
 
However, Williams carried on and scored a fine 58 not out off just 32 balls. Williams's innings was studded with seven boundaries and a six.  
 
Williams reached his half-century in just 26 balls after playing a slog-sweep over deep midwicket off Afridi for a six. It was his career-best effort in T20Is, bettering the 38 he made against Bangladesh in Khulna nine years ago.
 
Chigumbura provided a strong finish with a 9-ball 21 and hit three sixes. Pakistan's bowlers shared the wickets equally, with Mohammad Sami, Afridi and Malik taking a wicket each.
 
Pakistan retained its fifth spot in the T20I rankings with the win. The two sides will now face off in three One-Day Internationals at the same venue. 

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