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Akmal helps Pakistan sweep series

Visiting side's bowlers rally as Zimbabwe falls short by 15 runs to concede series 2-0

Akmal helps Pakistan sweep series - Cricket News
Pakistan team celebrate after winning the series.
Umar Akmal made a crucial contribution of 38 off 28 balls to help Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 15 runs in the second and final Twenty20 International at Harare Sports Club. The win meant Pakistan clinched the two-match series 2-0 on Tuesday (September 29).
Pakistan, after opting to bat, was helped by a late flourish with Akmal providing impetus to add 24 with Imad Wasim in the last two overs, helping the team reach 136 for 6.

Zimbabwe, in reply, slipped to 24 for 4 before Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza (36) added run-a-ball 60 for the fifth wicket to bring the chase back on track. However, early wicket had dented the chase enough and though Williams ended unbeaten on 40 off 36, the home side fell short, ending on 121 for 7. The win meant Pakistan kept its winning streak alive and has now won eight consecutive T20Is against Zimbabwe.

Pakistan made a stead start with Ahmed Shehzad (7) and Mohammad Hafeez (17) putting on 24 runs for the first wicket in four overs. But it lost wickets at crucial intervals in trying to force the pace. Shoaib Maqsood (26) anchored the innings, while the other batsmen were tied down by the bowlers and the slowness of the surface.

Pakistan’s score was at 112 in 18 overs when Wasim (13 off 9) and Akmal collaborated to add vital runs.

When Zimbabwe batted, the early wickets gave Pakistan control from the start. Raza and Williams resisted the attack initially, and then slowly built a partnership that gave rise to the home side’s hopes. Their crucial stand was broken when Raza was bowled by Imran Khan, the left-arm spinner, in the 17th over. 

Elton Chigumbura, the captain, came out all guns blazing and hammered 17 off just eight balls, much to the delight of the crowd, before he found Shoaib Malik at long-on off Mohammad Irfan. Imran and Irfan ended with two wickets each. 

Both sides will now play a three-match One-Day International series on the same venue from Thursday.

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