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Pakistan looks to complete series sweep

Plenty of positives for home side after series win, but form of Raza, Chibhaba augurs well for Zimbabwe
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When Haris Sohail dabbed Tinashe Panyangara to third man for a brace and brought up Pakistan’s six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the second One-Day International on Friday, it marked the home team’s first series victory in two years. While it was a complete team effort, Azhar Ali’s 102 formed the pillar of a successful chase of 269 in 47.2 overs.
 
Azhar’s form has been Pakistan’s biggest takeaway ever since he returned to the side as its captain post Misbah-ul-Haq’s retirement. With two centuries and two fifties, one of which came in the first game of the ongoing series, he has walked the talk.
 
The most important aspect of the century was the manner in which he built the innings and stitched three important partnerships to help Pakistan chase down a target in excess of 250 for only the third time over the last four years.
 
Pakistan would be hoping that Azhar takes his form into the final match of the series at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore on Sunday (May 31), as it attempts its first clean sweep since December 2011.
 
Azhar apart, Pakistan has been well served by Sohail, who has so far collected 141 runs in this series. The duo has received good support from Shoaib Malik, who marked his return to international cricket after two years with his first century since September 2009, Mohammad Hafeez and Wahab Riaz, who leads the bowling charts with five scalps.
 
What struck the most about Pakistan’s win in the second game was the manner in which Azhar and Asad Shafiq constructed the chase in their 85-run partnership for the third wicket. Even though Zimbabwe’s spinners applied pressure on a slow surface by bowling a lot of dot balls, the pair remained unfazed and collected occasional boundaries to chip away at the target.
 
After them, Sohail and Malik finished the job. That Malik has managed to record a strike-rate of 154.16 is another positive for Pakistan from this series.
 
From Zimbabwe’s point of view, the two losses has offered some silver linings. Elton Chigumbura, who was handed a two-match suspension because of slow over-rate, made an attractive maiden century in the first game. And Sikandar Raza’s unbeaten 84-ball 100 and Chamu Chibhaba’s measured 99 in the second clash offered a glimpse of the country’s healthy batting stocks. In the bowling department, Graeme Cremer was sharp in the last match where he conceded just two fours and bowled 22 dot balls in his ten-over spell.
 
Zimbabwe would expect others to come good and end the historic tour on a match-winning note.

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1 June - 18 June 2017

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ODI
Final, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | The Oval, London
Pakistan won by 180 runs
Pakistan
338/4
India
158
Match Centre
ODI
Semi Final 2, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Edgbaston, Birmingham
India won by 9 wickets
Bangladesh
264/7
India
265/1
Match Centre
ODI
Semi Final 1, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
Pakistan won by 8 wickets
England
211
Pakistan
215/2
Match Centre
ODI
Match 12, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
Pakistan won by 3 wickets
Sri Lanka
236
Pakistan
237/7
Match Centre
ODI
Match 11, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | The Oval, London
India won by 8 wickets
India
193/2
South Africa
191
Match Centre
ODI
Match 10, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Edgbaston, Birmingham
England won by 40 runs (DLS Method)
England
240/4
Australia
277/9
Match Centre
ODI
Match 9, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
Bangladesh won by 5 wickets
New Zealand
265/8
Bangladesh
268/5
Match Centre
ODI
Match 8, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | The Oval, London
Sri Lanka won by 7 wickets
India
321/6
Sri Lanka
322/3
Match Centre
ODI
Match 7, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Edgbaston, Birmingham
Pakistan won by 19 runs (DLS Method)
Pakistan
119/3
South Africa
219/8
Match Centre
ODI
Match 6, ICC Champions Trophy 2017 | Cardiff Wales Stadium, Cardiff
England won by 87 runs
England
310
New Zealand
223
Match Centre

Group A

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 England 3 1.04 6
2 Bangladesh 3 0.00 3
3 Australia 3 -0.99 2
4 New Zealand 3 -1.05 1

Group B

Pos Team P NRR Pts
1 India 3 1.37 4
2 Pakistan 3 -0.68 4
3 South Africa 3 0.16 2
4 Sri Lanka 3 -0.79 2
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