| Tatenda Taibu en route to his unbeaten 74 in the final against Pakistan in Sharjah Thursday. (Reuters)
Sharjah: Pakistan took a significant step in their post-World Cup rebuilding process, thrashing Zimbabwe by eight wickets in the final of the four-nation one-day tournament Thursday to clinch their 12th title at Sharjah.
Pakistan, who dumped eight of their top stars, easily achieved the target to register their fourth win in a row.
Zimbabwe could score just 168 after electing to bat in the day-night game, mainly due to young wicketkeeper Tatenda Taibuís unbeaten 74.
The Pakistanis put up another polished performance to romp home in 35.2 overs, cruising to 172, losing just two wickets.
The young guns, who have been impressive in this tournament, were once again at the forefront of Pakistanís victory. Speedster Mohammed Sami and off-spinner Shoaib Malik claimed three wickets each while Danish Kaneria and Mohammed Hafeez took two each.
Man-of-the-Match Taufeeq Umer led the Pakistani charge, top-scoring with an unbeaten 81.
He put on 144 runs with Yousuf Youhana for the third wicket after Heath Streak had raised Zimbabwean hopes removing Hafeez and Faisal Iqbal cheaply. Youhana remained unbeaten on 61, made of f 69 balls with six fours and a six.
Pakistanís victory was never in doubt once these two got going. Aided by some indisciplined Zimbabwean bowling Umer and Youhana confidently struck out.
Earlier, Taibu played a glorious innings, which was the only bright note in an otherwise gloomy Zimbabwe innings that faltered at the very beginning and never recovered.
The Pakistan bowlers had a field day. Sami sent back the first three Zimbabwe batsmen with the total at just 22 before the spinners, Malik, Kaneria and Hafeez, wiped out the rest.
Taibuís was the only resistance from Zimbabwe, fighting till the very end after coming at the fall of the third wicket. He hit five fours and a six off Umar Gul in a delightful knock.
The only support he got was from Sean Ervine, with whom he put on 46 runs in the innings highest partnership, after Grant Flowerís dismissal in the 13th over had left Zimbabwe reeling at 36 for four.
Ervine made 25, which included four fours. He was just beginning to flow when he was caught by Latif off Malik.
Earlier, Latif had completed 200 dismissals in one-day Internationals when he caught Gavin Rennie off Sami.
Taibu was also associated in a 40-run partnership for the sixth wicket with Dion Ebrahim who made 13 runs before being caught by Malik off Kaneria.
Heath Streak, Andy Blignaut and Raymond Price were dismissed in quick succession leaving Zimbabwe innings in tatters at 133 for nine.
But Taibu continued to fight, and along with Douglas Hondo, added 35 for the last wicket. He raised his half-century with two runs off Kaneria, which earned loud applause from the largely-Pakistani crowd. (PTI)