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Hafeez delivers series win

Misbah steers Pakistan’s batting as Zimbabwe succumb meekly in final ODI

Misbah-ul-Haq played a captain’s knock as his half-century helped Pakistan to a 108-run win and a 2-1 series victory against Zimbabwe in the third One-Day International at the Harare Sports Club ground on Saturday (August 31).

Misbah contributed 65 off 85 balls as Pakistan posted 260 for 6 after being asked to bat. Zimbabwe could only muster 152 all out off 40 overs in reply, with Mohammed Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal, the two offies, and Abdur Rehman, the slow left-armer, each picking up two wickets.

Pakistan made a slow start to its innings, scoring at just 3.66 runs an over after 30 overs. But, Misbah, and Umar Amin, with a quick fire 33 off just 25 deliveries, injected some urgency into the innings as the pair put on 51 runs for the third wicket off eight overs.

Safraz Ahmed then joined in the fun with an aggressive 22 off 13 balls as he and Misbah blasted 48 off a mere 4.4 overs for the fifth wicket.

Ahmed Shehzad, the opener, had steered the ship with 54 off 85 balls as he and Nasir Jamshed (38) put on 66 runs for the first wicket.

“The openers gave us a good start but the game changed when Amin came in and Sarfraz also batted well and we managed a good total. There was a little inconsistent bounce and pace so I wanted to make sure we played the 50 overs and post something around 250-260,” Misbah said.

Hafeez (26 not out) came in at the fall of the first wicket but he retired hurt with a hamstring injury in the 23rd over but he did return towards the backend of the innings.

Zimbabwe’s bowlers had held the upper-hand for much of the innings on a good batting wicket as they bowled 140 dot balls during Pakistan’s stint at the crease.

Tendai Chatara, the seamer, was the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers and he extracted extra bounce during an impressive new-ball spell which served up figures of one for 15 off six overs. Chatara finished the innings with three for 48 runs.

Zimbabwe made a miserable start to its run chase as they crashed to 87 for six and only 48 from Malcolm Waller prevented it from succumbing to a greater defeat while it contributed to its own demise with three run-outs during its innings.

Hafeez was named Man of the Series after scoring 232 runs in three matches while Pakistan, after losing the first match of the series by seven wickets, won the series with two wins on the trot. “After the first game, we needed to work hard and play well in the next two,” said Hafeez.

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