30 October 2020 16:34
Another trademark display of death bowling by Wahab Riaz and another five-for by Shaheen Afridi bailed out Pakistan and saved them from what could have been an ugly home defeat at the hands of the 14th-ranked Zimbabwe at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday. After a lethargic batting display saw the hosts post a modest 282-run target on a flat deck, Afridi gave Pakistan two early wickets. However, Zimbabwe's middle-order pairing of Brendan Taylor and Wesley Madhevere frustrated Pakistan and their 119-run partnership for the fifth wicket appeared to have taken the match away from Pakistan. That changed when Riaz came back in the 46th over to dismiss Madhevere (55), and together with Afridi cleaned up the African tail. Earlier, Pakistan managed to set a modest 282-run target for Zimbabwe despite opener Imam-ul-Haq (58 off 75) and Haris Sohail's (71 off 82) super-slow innings in the middle-order that were more appropriate for Test cricket.
The pair batted at snail's pace, failed to rotated the strike and when the hard work was done, got dismissed against a Zimbabwe side that bowled with great discipline. While Sohail at least accelerated late, Imam made no such comebacks and set tone for a stop-start innings that put the pressure on lower order. 255 all-out: Wahab Riaz picks up his fourth of the night as Pakistan win by 26 runs. 251-9 after 49 overs: Wahab Riaz catches another one - again off the bowling of Shaheen Afridi. He bowls out Sikandar Raza as Pakistan are now on top, all thanks to him and Afridi. 244-6 after 47 overs: Centurion Brendan Taylor (112 off 116) skies one as Wahab Riaz takes the catch off of Shaheen Afridi's bowling. 237-5 after 46 overs: Wahab Riaz is brought back into the attack and he does what he almost always does late in the match: bowls out the batsman. The precocious Madhevere's 55-run knock off just 61 balls comes to an end. 222-4 after 44 overs: Brendan Taylor completes his century as he becomes the Zimbabwean with most hundreds (17) across all formats. 204-4 after 41 overs: Back-to-back boundaries off the final two balls brings the required run-rate down. 187-4 after 39 overs: 95 needed off 66 with 6 wickets in hand is very doable, won't you say? Pakistan need to get rid of Taylor asap or it could get ugly for them later. 163-4 after 35 overs: Haris Rauf back in the attack and bowls a decent one. 161-4 after 34 overs: The flurry of boundaries over the last few overs forces Babar Azam to bring back Shaheen Afridi and he immediately responds. Brendan Taylor 71 (81) Wesley Madhevere 23 (24) 131-4 after 30 overs: Taylor top-edges, to which Wahab Riaz runs backwards, dives and doesn't get it. 128-4 after 29 overs: 20-over old Wesley Madhevere pulling Wahab Riaz for a four was the highlight of the over. 115-4 after 27 overs: Wahab Riaz comes back into the attack and has Sean Williams caught at the back with a beautiful outswinger. Wesley Madhevere 0 (2)Brendan Taylor 48 (61) 112-3 after 26 overs: 106 after 23 overs: Brendan Taylor 43 (53) Sean Williams 0 (0) 99-3 after 22 overs: With runs drying up, risk is taken and that sees Ervine reverse-sweep Imad Wasim. The lefty gets caught at short third-man as Pakistan get a much-needed wicket. 98-2 after 20 overs: Mohammad Rizwan drops Ervine off of Imad Wasim's bowling. 92-2 after 19 overs: The expensive Haris Rauf is back in attack. Bowls a much tighter comeback over and gives away just a single run. 91-2 after 18 overs: Imad Wasim's spin is in attack. The left-armer bowls a tidy over as expected but Pakistan need more than that here: a wicket or two. 81-2 after 16 overs: Finally a big over for Zimbabwe as Ervine cracks back-to-back fours off of otherwise miserly Ashraf. 66-2 after 14 overs: Ashraf has given away just 8 runs in his 4 overs. 66-2 after 13 overs: Brendan Taylor 21 (27) Craig Ervine 26 (35) 62-2 after 12 overs: Ashraf's spot-on bowling is building the pressure on the African pair. 60-2 after 11 overs: Wahab Riaz replaced the excellent Afridi. 46-2 after 8 overs: Rauf gets replaced by Faheem Ashraf who bowls a tidy over. 39-2 after 6 overs: The wayward Haris Rauf is threatening to undo Afridi's good work. 29-2 after 5 overs: And just when it seemed the storm had bene weathered, it comes back in the form of Afridi, who does not get an lbw decision one ball so bowls out Chibhabha off an inside edge the next. 14-1 after 2 overs: Haris Rauf gets slapped for a four off the first ball of his ODI career. 0-0 Zimbabwe openers Brian Chari and captain Chimu Chibhabha are at the crease to face Shaheen Afridi. Imad Wasim 34 (26), Shaheen Afridi 8 (5) 261-8 after 48 overs: Wahab Riaz run out. 250-7 after 47 overs: Faheem Ashraf (23 off 16) is caught at the boundary. 224-6 after 44 overs: Imad Wasim survives a caught-behind appeal. Later, Sikandar Raza bowls a no-ball and Wasim punishes him for a six. Haris Sohail walks back, having done all the hard work and contributed ad 82-ball 71. 191-4 after 40 overs: Finally a big over for the famished Sohail, who hits two 4s and a 6 off back-to-back deliveries. Haris Sohail 45 (71), Iftikhar Ahmed 8 (5) Haris Sohail 38 (58), Mohammad Rizwan 10 (23) 151-3 after 33 overs: On the first ball, Sohail comes down the track and gives it a whack and almost gets caught at the boundary as Carl Mumba leaps but the ball is a little too high. Sohail runs hard, Imam dives as both get back in almost at the same time. 109-2 after 23 overs: Imam completes his 50 with a much-needed boundary. Meanwhile, Brendan Taylor drops Sohail behind the wicket. Wesley Madhevere and Sikandar Raza are rushing and being very accurate, offering very little even to an excellent spin player such as Sohail. 91-2 after 18 overs: The 6'8 Muzarabani gets extra bounce and that does Azam (19 off 18) who nicks one back to the keeper. 34-0 after 8 overs: 6 runs off the very tall Blessing Muzarabani's first over. Zimbabwe take review and the lefty barely survives as the ball, though in line, was a bit high. 17-0 after 4 overs: 11 off the over as Imam finally finds a boundary and some runs. Imam has a mere 2 runs from 12 balls. 7-0 after 2 overs: Abid Ali hits the first boundary of the series. Pak vs Zim: Wahab Riaz, Shaheen Afridi bail out Babar Azam in 1st ODI