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Pakistan clinches series after Bilal heroics

Allrounder follows 5/25 with score of 38 to take his side to victory against Zimbabwe in decisive third ODI in Harare

Pakistan clinches series after Bilal heroics - Cricket News
Riding on Bilal Asif's 5 for 25, Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets in the third ODI to clinch the series 2-1
Pakistan, riding on Bilal Asif's 5 for 25, beat Zimbabwe by seven wickets in the decisive third and final One-Day International against Zimbabwe on Monday (October 5) to clinch the series 2-1.

Bilal, playing in only his second ODI, not only troubled the Zimbabwe batsmen with his offspin bowling, but also came back to hit a brisk 39-ball 38 to set a perfect platform for Pakistan in its chase of 162.

After putting together an opening stand of 58 off 74 balls with Bilal, Ahmed Shehzad and Mohammad Hafeez kept the momentum going even after the allrounder was dismissed caught by Tinotenda Mutombodzi at long-on off the bowling of John Nyumbu in the 13th over.

But Hafeez (13) fell four overs later, when he nicked a Tinashe Panyangara delivery to Brian Chari behind the stumps. The scoreboard read 74 for 2 in 16.3 overs at that stage, and it was upto Shahzad and Asad Shafiq to avoid any more hiccups.

They took the score past the 100-run mark before Shahzad was sent back in the 24th over, stumped by Chari off Sean Williams's bowling.

That brought together Shafiq and Shoaib Malik, who almost won Pakistan the second match a couple of days ago, with 58 more needed for victory. The duo batted with responsibility, and safely took their side over the line in the 34th over, thus completing a successful tour of Zimbabwe.

Earlier, sent in to bat, Zimbabwe started well, with Richmond Mutumbami and Chamu Chibhabha, the openers, putting up an 89-run stand, but as soon as Bilal sent Chibhabha back for a 76-ball 48 in the 21st over, Pakistan gained control of the match. Bilal had good support from Imad Wasim (3 for 36), the left-arm spinner, and the duo ran through the middle order.
Mutumbami, who made a career-best 67, was the only man to fall to pacer, with Mohammad Irfan having him caught behind after an 85-ball stay.

Only one batsman - Luke Jongwe (16) - managed to get to double figures after the openers had departed, and Zimbabwe was all out for 161 in 38.5 overs, leaving Pakistan with a straightforward chase.

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