Babar Azam leads Pakistan to six-wicket win against Zimbabwe in first T20I
RAWALPINID (92 News) – Pakistan captain Babar Azam led from the front with a sparkling 82 as the hosts trounced Zimbabwe by six wickets to take a 1-0 lead in the three-match T20I series being played at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi on Saturday.
This was the first-ever T20I played at the venue which first hosted an international match in January 1992.
Babar produced a typical batting master-class in his 55-ball innings that included nine fours and six as Pakistan recorded a comfortable victory after being set a 157-run target by the visitors.
Pakistan’s chase started off positively as Babar and Fakhar hit some early boundaries before Fakhar (19) was dismissed by Blessing Muzarabani with the score at 36 after four overs.
With Pakistan’s score at 62, Haider Ali fell for seven, left-armer Richard Ngarava had him caught by wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor.
Babar played some scintillating shots to spearhead the Pakistan chase. The captain once again led from the front and brought-up the 15th half-century of his T20I career and looked in complete command as Zimbabwe bowlers failed to curb his stroke play.
Babar eventually fell after adding 80 runs for the third-wicket with Mohammad Hafeez who scored 36 runs off 32 balls with the help of three fours and a six.
Pakistan completed the chase in the 19th over with Khushdil Shah (5) and Mohammad Rizwan (zero) at the crease. Muzarabani took two wickets for 26 runs for Zimbabwe.
Earlier, Zimbabwe lost early wickets of captain Chamu Chibhabha (0) and Brendan Taylor (20) in the first 4.1 overs with 34 runs on the board. Chibhabha was dismissed lbw by Mohammad Hasnain while Haris Rauf got rid of the in-form Taylor who had scored 204 runs in the preceding ODI series between the two teams.
Sean Williams (25 off 24 balls, four fours) became debutant leg-spinner Usman Qadir’s first international wicket, the left-hander was bowled attempting a big shot with the score at 70 in the 10th over. Wahab Riaz sent Sikandar Raza (7) packing to leave Zimbabwe wobbling at 87 for four in 10.5 overs.
Wesley Madhevere held the Zimbabwe innings together with some dazzling stroke play; he added 35 for the fifth-wicket with Ryan Burl (8) who was bowled by Haris leaving Zimbabwe 122 for five in 16.3 overs.
The right-handed Madhevere stood firm till the end scoring 70 off 48 balls, his innings included nine fours and one six. Zimbabwe ended their 20 overs at 156 for six; Haris Rauf and Wahab Riaz took two wickets each.
Scores in brief:
Zimbabwe 156 for six in 20 overs (Wesley Madhevere 70 not out, Sean Williams 25; Haris Rauf 2-25, Wahab Riaz 2-37)
Pakistan 157 for 4 in 18.5 overs (Babar Azam 82, Mohammad Hafeez 36; Blessing Muzarabani 2-26)
Result: Pakistan won by six wickets
Man-of-the-match – Babar Azam
8 Nov – 2nd T20I, Rawalpindi. Ahsan Raza and Rashid Riaz (on-field umpire), Aleem Dar (third umpire), Shozab Raza (fourth umpire); Javed Malik (match referee).