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Monday, March 27, 2023

All-round Pakistan cruise to big win

CricketAll-round Pakistan cruise to big win

Riding on fine bowling displays from Usman Khan and Hasan Ali, followed by a measured unbeaten century by Fakhar Zaman, Pakistan had little trouble brushing Zimbabwe aside in the second of five One-Day Internationals in Bulawayo on Monday (July 16).Fakhar Zaman

Batting first, Zimbabwe were shot out for 194 in 49.2 overs, courtesy of Usman’s four-for and Hasan’s three. In response, Zaman amassed a calculated 117 not out to ensure Pakistan got over the line with nine wickets and 14 overs to spare as Zimbabwe remained winless.

The only wicket that Zimbabwe took – that of Imam-ul-Haq – came through a ridiculous piece of running between the wickets as the centurion from the first ODI was run out for a steady 44 by Blessing Muzarabani when trying to steal a quick single. But the wicket did little to deter Pakistan as Zaman, with Babar for company, helped Pakistan cruise past the paltry target.

Zaman’s 129-ball knock, consisting of 16 boundaries, yielded him 117 runs, while Babar was happy to rotate strike, scoring 29 not out off 36 balls with just one four.

Zaman’s innings didn’t have the smoothest start and he was tested a fair bit by Muzarabani with the new ball, but despite edging a few deliveries, he remained confident when dispatching the poor deliveries and made his intentions clear very early.

He brought up his fifty with a deft touch past short third man, and continued to play delightful strokes without taking undue risks. Imam’s innings was marginally less fluent, but it didn’t matter in light of the target at hand.

Fakhar offered a bit of a chance in the 35th over when he flicked one off Donald Tiripano to short fine leg, but Tendai Chatara was unable to hold on to a slightly difficult chance.

Earlier Zimbabwe’s batsmen were unable to get on top of Pakistan’s bowlers despite gritty fifties from Hamilton Masakadza and Peter Moor. Usman impressed with the new ball against a wary Zimbabwe, having Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha, the openers, caught behind inside eight overs.

Masakadza and Tarisai Musakanda then stitched up a 62-run stand for the third wicket. Hasan Ali trapped Musakanda in front for 24 off 34 balls to ignite a collapse. Masakadza was dismissed shortly later for a steady 59 when he mistimed a slog sweep off Shoaib Malik.

Moor tried to hold things together with his painstaking 86-ball 50 but with Hasan and Usman making regular strikes at the other end, Zimbabwe fell short even of the 200-mark. The chase was never going to be tough for Pakistan, whose batsmen have been impressive throughout the tour.

Zimbabwe will have to dig deep if they are to challenge Pakistan and keep the series alive come the third ODI on Wednesday at the same venue.

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