Fakhar Zaman, Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali do the job with the bat before bowlers stop hosts 74 runs short.
Pakistan are the No.1 Twenty20 International side in the world, and showed just why they are such a formidable unit in the format by running away to a 74-run win over Zimbabwe in the opening game of the triangular series – Australia are the third team – in Harare on Sunday 1 July.
Asked to bat first, Pakistan rode on Fakhar Zaman’s 40-ball 61 at the top of the order and cameos from Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali later in the script to get to 182/4.
Highest run-getters in T20I cricket
|Martin Guptill (NZ)||75||2271||34.40||132.88||105||2/14|
|Brendon McCullum (NZ)||71||2140||35.66||136.21||123||2/13|
|Shoaib Malik (Pak/ICC)||99||2026||31.65||122.63||75||0/7|
|Virat Kohli (ind)||59||1992||48.58||137.00||90*||0/18|
|Rohit Sharma (Ind)||81||1949||31.43||136.58||118||2/15|
Kyle Jarvis accounted for Mohammad Hafeez early in the second over, but Zaman had hit his straps by then. Unfortunately for him, he couldn’t really stitch a partnership of any significance with either Hussain Talat or Sarfraz Ahmed, the captain.
Talat was dismissed for 10 by Chamu Chibhabha with the total on 44, while Ahmed scored a 15-ball 16 before being sent back by Tendai Chisoro to leave Pakistan at 78/3 at the halfway stage.
When his captain was dismissed, Zaman had reached 38 in 25 balls. In the 15 further balls he faced, Zaman hit 23 runs, getting to his second T20I half-century in his 18th game in the process.
Zaman and Shoaib Malik had added 42 for the fourth wicket before Chisoro, Zimbabwe’s most successful bowler with 2/28, got one past the opening batsman’s almighty swing to hit timber. Zaman hit three fours and three sixes in his innings.
Unfortunately for Zimbabwe, getting rid of Zaman made things worse for them as Malik and Ali smashed the ball around in the last five overs. Malik, in his 99th T20I, scored 37* in 24 balls with two fours and a six, while Ali hit one four and four sixes in his 21-ball 41*.
During the course of his innings, Malik also became the third man after Martin Guptill and Brendon McCullum to score 2000 runs in T20Is.
The Zimbabwe reply looked like it had veered off track early on as Mohammad Nawaz and Hasan Ali sent back Chibhabha and captain Hamilton Masakadza cheaply to leave the scoreboard reading 22/2.
But they fought back with Solomon Mire, the opener, and No.4 batsman Tarisai Musakanda. The two added 35 for the third wicket to give Zimbabwe hope, but Mire’s fall for 27, off Nawaz, led to another poor spell for Zimbabwe as they lost the wickets of Peter Moor and Elton Chigumbura to slide to 88/5 in the 14th over.
Musakanda, on his T20I debut, stuck around to score a 35-ball 43 with two fours, but once Usman Shinwari had him caught by Shadab Khan at mid-off, the Zimbabwe resistance ended.
From 102/5 at the end of 16 overs, they collapsed to 108 all out in 17.5 overs, Hafeez picking up two wickets in five balls to end the game. Nawaz, Shinwari and Hasan Ali also picked up two wickets apiece.
The next match in the series will be played on the morrow between Australia and Pakistan.
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