Pakistan got their T20I tri-series campaign going in style as they trounced Zimbabwe by 74 runs in the opening encounter in Harare on Sunday (July 1). The Zimbabwe chase never really going and all they could manage was 108 in 17.5 overs after being set 183.
Zimbabwe were exceptional at the start and did well to sustain pressure for the first 11 overs after opting to field. Mohammad Hafeez threw away his wicket in the second over trying to hit out but found the mid-off fielder to gift Kyle Jarvis his first wicket in the game. Hussain Talat and Fakhar Zaman collaborated to get the innings going but the former struggled for momentum.
Zaman got a few big hits out but lost Talat (10 of 12) after a 31-run stand. Sarfraz Ahmed walked out to bat at four but failed to get going and was dismissed for 15. Pakistan had scored just 78 in the first ten overs but had Zaman set at the crease. Zimbabwe, from there on, lost the plot.
It was Shoaib Malik who gave the team the much-needed impetus in the 12th over when he took on John Nyumbu. 16 runs from that over took the pressure off Zaman as well as he cantered to his second T20I half-century in the very next over. From 78 for 3 in the first half of the game, Pakistan raced past the 100-run mark in the 13th over.
Zimbabwe’s troubles were increased several folds when they lost Jarvis to an injury. Zaman had smashed the ball to long-on and the pacer not only failed to hold on to the catch but also fractured his thumb. With no Jarvis to turn to in the death overs, Hamilton Masakadza looked lost for answers.
Malik (37 off 24) and Asif Ali (41 off 21) took advantage of some sloppy bowling and scored 62 off 32 for the fifth wicket to lift the side over 180.
Mohammad Nawaz dismissed Chamu Chibhabha in the very first over of the chase and Zimbabwe kept losing wickets thereafter. The game was already beyond their reach even before the 15th over started with no significant partnership flourishing. Masakadza made just 7 while Peter Moor could manage just 2. Tarisai Musakanda fought a lone battle and even though Elton Chigumbura entertained for a brief while, Pakistan dominated the contest for all 40 overs.
Pakistan’s quality, as expected, was too much to handle for the hosts who have entered the series with several of their key players missing because of a pay dispute. Off-field issues clearly reflected on the on-field performance and the think-tank will need to find several quick fixes for the glaring issues that are plaguing them.
Brief scores: Pakistan 182/4 in 20 overs (Fakhar Zaman 61, Asif Ali 41*; Tendai Chisoro 2-28) beat Zimbabwe 108 in 17.5 overs (Tarisai Musakanda 43; Mohammad Hafeez 2-3, Mohammad Nawaz 2-11) by 74 runs.
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