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All-round Zimbabwe stuns Pakistan

Masakadza’s 85 sets up seven-wicket win, Zimbabwe’s first against Pakistan in ODIs since 1998
Hamilton Masakadza’s half-century provided the platform as Zimbabwe completed a famous seven-wicket victory in the opening match of the bilateral One-Day International series against Pakistan at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday (August 27).

Zimbabwe, chasing Pakistan’s 244 for 7, reached 246 for 3 in 48.2 overs, Masakadza having set the chase up with 85 off 104 balls, comprising nine fours and a six.

Brendan Taylor (43 not out) and Sean Williams, who hit 39 not out off just 23 deliveries, then compiled a brisk unbroken fourth-wicket stand of 45 off a mere 5.2 overs to secure Zimbabwe’s first ODI win over Pakistan since 1998 in Peshawar. It was also Zimbabwe’s first ODI win in eight matches.

Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda (54) provided Zimbabwe with a near-perfect start with an opening stand of 107.

Sibanda departed in the 24th over, trapped leg-before by Saeed Ajmal, the off-spinner, before Masakadza, who brought up his 20th ODI fifty off 79 balls, and Taylor, added 69 runs for the second wicket.

I knew that the wicket was going to get better in the afternoon. The pitch was better to bat on after the first ten overs. We were just one down when Taylor came out so there weren't really any nerves at that time,” said Masakadza.

Ajmal was the most successful bowler for Pakistan, ending with 2 for 44 off ten overs.

Pakistan had earlier won the toss and elected to bat, and most of the top-order made contributions with Nasir Jamshed (27) and Ahmed Shehzad (24) putting on 56 runs for the first wicket.

However, the bulk of the runs came from a 99-run third-wicket stand between Mohammed Hafeez and Misbah-ul-Haq, the captain.

Hafeez contributed an entertaining 70 off 71 balls with six fours and three sixes while Misbah top-scored with 83 not out off 85 deliveries, after being dropped on 58, which included three fours and two sixes.

Pakistan had seemed handily placed on 179 for 2 in the 38th over, but Hafeez’s dismissal, caught at short third-man off the bowling of Tendai Chatara, the seamer, derailed the innings.

Pakistan lost momentum thereafter, with Shahid Afridi (11) the only other batsman to reach double figures. Pakistan’s poor finish to the innings was despite some poor fielding from Zimbabwe, with five catches put down and a missed stumping.

Chatara finished with 2 for 32 off 10 overs while Brian Vitori, left-arm seamer, claimed 2 for 42. Zimbabwe now leads the three-match series 1-0 with the second game to be played in Harare on Thursday.

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