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Malik century fashions 41-run Pakistan win

Elton Chigumbura’s 112 goes in vain as Zimbabwe falls short in high-scoring first ODI

Malik century fashions 41-run Pakistan win  - Cricket News
Shoaib Malik’s century came off 70 balls as Pakistan put up 375/3.
Shoaib Malik capped his One-Day International return with a brilliant century to help Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 41 runs in the first match of the series in Lahore on Tuesday (May 26).
 
Playing his first ODI after two years, Malik, 33, scored a 76-ball 112 with 12 fours and two sixes as Pakistan, having won the toss, posted 375 for 3 on a flat Gaddafi Stadium pitch.
 
Chasing a big target, Zimbabwe put up a defiant show through Elton Chigumbura’s 112 and his third-wicket partnership of 124 runs with Hamilton Masakadza, but could manage only 334 for 5 when time ran out.
 
Malik built on a confident 170-run opening stand between Mohammad Hafeez (86) and Azhar Ali (79) as Pakistan improved on its previous best total against Zimbabwe – 349 in Jamaica in 2007.
 
Malik’s century – his first in 31 innings, the last coming in September 2009 – came off 70 balls as Pakistan added 112 in the last ten overs.
 
He was dismissed off the last delivery, caught in the covers off Tinashe Panyangara. Malik had been part of a 201-run stand with Haris Sohail (89 not out), a new record for the third wicket against Zimbabwe beating the 145 runs which Javed Miandad and Aamir Sohail put on in Hobart in 1992. Haris’s runs came off 66 balls with six fours and two sixes.
 
Prior to that, Azhar and Hafeez gave Pakistan the early momentum as they batted solidly.
 
Zimbabwe spurned a good chance of separating the two when Chris Mpofu dropped a catch at the long-on boundary off Prosper Utseya. Utseya then dismissed both the openers off successive deliveries with Azhar caught off a miscued sweep and Hafeez missing a straighter delivery to be bowled.
 
If Zimbabwe thought that it had made a comeback into the game, it was mistaken. Malik and Haris scored their runs at 8.80 as three bowlers conceded 70 or more runs in their quota of ten overs.
 


Malik started off shakily before adjusting, reaching his fifty – also his first in six years – off just 43 balls.
 
Pakistan hit a total of 35 fours and ten sixes as Zimbabwe was left with a mountain to climb.
 
Zimbabwe showed intent as the opening pair of Sikandar Raza and Vusi Sibanda put on 56 runs in 9.4 overs. Raza, however, fell to Anwar Ali, and Wahab Riaz removed Sibanda, as Zimbabwe slipped to 65 for 2 in 13 overs.
 
Masakadza and Chigumbura, Zimbabwe’s most experienced batsmen, were not bothered by the match situation and focussed on playing their natural game as runs came at a good pace during their partnership.
 
Masakadza was looking good on a run-a-ball 73 when Malik had him caught at deep midwicket in the 33rd over.
 
Though Sean Williamson hit five fours and Chigumbura made an attractive maiden hundred, the asking rate was too steep for any kind of miracle to take place.
 
And when Wahab Riaz bowled Chigumbura for his third wicket in the 45th over, it effectively ended the game.
 
The next two matches would be played on Friday and Sunday – also in Lahore.
 
Pakistan had earlier marked the return of international cricket to its country with a 2-0 win in the Twenty20 International series.

To see the full scorecard of this match, please click here.

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