BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe – Fakhar Zaman’s second ODI century, and seven wickets shared between Usman Khan and Hassan Ali, ensured Pakistan completed a nine-wicket win and took a 2-0 lead in the five-match ODI series.
Pakistan were always heavy favourites for this series after many of Zimbabwe’s best players ruled themselves out due to an ongoing pay dispute, and though the result is not yet decided – the tourists lead 2-0 with three to play – it seems certain they will secure the rubber at some point.
Much of the interest therefore is not in the overall result, but instead in how close Zimbabwe can get, and whether this slightly ramshackle group of players can challenge not this time, but perhaps in one, two or even five years' time. To that end, there were some positives to be taken for the home side.
For this wasn’t quite as demoralising a thrashing as the 201-run marmalising in the first ODI; there was heartening fight shown by Zimbabwe. There were gritty fifties for Moor and Masakadza, several other starts besides which indicated there may be more to come from this side, and a testing new-ball spell from Blessing Muzarabani, who conceded just 19 from his first five overs and found the edge on more than one occasion.
But in the end, and worryingly but not unexpectedly, Pakistan’s skills were simply far superior. In Usman Khan and Hassan Ali they had a pair of quicks who looked capable of making incisions at any stage of the game, while Zaman and Imamul Haq showed the ability to defy tricky spells of bowling, and then to cash in when conditions allowed.
Usman was the star with the ball, starting the match with a special new-ball spell which accounted for both Zimbabwe’s openers, Brian Chari nicking a lovely away-swinging delivery through to the keeper, and Chamu Chibhabha under-edging a cut to a ball that was too full for the stroke. He then returned to stymie Zimbabwe’s late charge with two searing yorkers in two balls, the first of which smashed into Donald Tiripano’s stumps, and the second was only prevented from doing so by Liam Roche’s pads.
In-between, Hassan Ali struck regularly through the middle overs, a skill he has proved himself as good at as any pace bowler in the world over the last year and a bit. He angled one in to Tarisai Musakanda to have the No.4 lbw and break a 62-run stand, brought one back in miles to demolish Ryan Murray’s stumps, and out-thought PJ Moor in the death overs, encouraging him to flat-bat a length ball skywards.
Either would have been a worthy candidate for Player of the Match were it not for Zaman’s stunning century that sealed the win. He and Imam again added 100 together for the first wicket without fuss, and this time it was the senior man’s turn to make a century, and Imam’s to fall short, run out unfortunately for 44 as his bat bounced up before being grounded over the crease.
Though Zaman’s runs came at close to a run a ball, this was no mindless thwack; that would have been unnecessary. Instead, he waited to put the bad ball to the boundary, tucking the good ones for singles in the meantime.
Victory was eventually completed as Tiripano dug one in, only for it to pass harmlessly down the leg side for a wide. It summed up Zimbabwe’s day. They tried hard and couldn’t be faulted for effort; it was Pakistan’s skill that won out. –ICC
Zimbabwe 1st innings
Brian Chari c Sarfraz Ahmed b Usman Khan 1
Chamu Chibhabha c Sarfraz Ahmed b Usman Khan 7
Hamilton Masakadza c Asif Ali b Shoaib Malik 59
Tarisai Musakanda lbw Hasan Ali 24
Peter Moor c Shoaib Malik b Hasan Ali 50
Ryan Murray b Hasan Ali 16
Donald Tiripano b Usman Khan 13
Liam Roche lbw Usman Khan 0
Wellington Masakadza Run Out Hasan Ali 12
Tendai Chatara Run Out Fakhar Zaman 1
Blessing Muzarabani Not Out 1
Extras 4b 2lb 0nb 0pen 4w 10
Total (49.2 overs) 194 all out
Fall of Wickets : 1-3 Chari, 2-18 Chibhabha, 3-80 Musakanda, 4-105 Masakadza, 5-140 Murray, 6-166 Tiripano, 7-166 Roche, 8-190 Masakadza, 9-192 Moor, 10-194 Chatara
Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Mohammad Amir 9 0 33 0 3.67 1w
Usman Khan 10 1 36 4 3.60 2w
Faheem Ashraf 6 1 15 0 2.50
Hasan Ali 8.2 1 32 3 3.84 1w
Shadab Khan 10 0 47 0 4.70
Fakhar Zaman 3 0 11 0 3.67
Shoaib Malik 3 0 14 1 4.67
Pakistan 1st innings
Imam ul-Haq Run Out Blessing Muzarabani 44
Fakhar Zaman Not Out 117
Babar Azam Not Out 29
Extras 1b 0lb 0nb 0pen 4w 5
Total (36.0 overs) 195-1
Fall of Wickets : 1-119 ul-Haq
Did Not Bat : Malik, Ahmed, Ali, Ashraf, Khan, Ali, Amir, Shinwari
Bowling Ov Md Rn Wk Econ Ex
Tendai Chatara 6 0 34 0 5.67 1w
Blessing Muzarabani 7 0 28 0 4.00
Donald Tiripano 7 0 33 0 4.71 3w
Liam Roche 6 0 38 0 6.33
Wellington Masakadza 10 0 61 0 6.10
Umpire Ian Gould
Umpire Russell Tiffin
Video Langton Rusere
Match Referee Ranjan Madugalle