Pak pacers rattle Zimbabwe
Pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Wahab Riaz shared nine wickets among themselves to spare Pakistan the blushes against Zimbabwe in the first ODI at the Rawalpindi Stadium on Friday.
Pakistan, playing their first ODI since October last year, emerged winners by 26 runs.
The hosts made 281 for 8 after electing to bat first but Zimbabwe came close to an upset win with veteran Brendon Taylor (112) scoring a superb hundred and youngster, Wesley Madhevere, rattling the home side in a century partnership.
Zimbabwe looked set for a shock win at 234 for four in the 45th over but then Wahab (4/41) and Shaheen (5/49) ran amok sharing the remaining six wickets.
The 20-year-old, with just three ODIs behind him, batted with assurance hitting seven fours as he and Taylor (11 fours, three sixes) put on 119 runs for the fifth wicket.
Taylor was picked up by Shaheen in the next over after Madhevere’s dismissal and Zimbabwe then lost their last five wickets for only 21 runs to be bowled out for 255 in the final over. Taylor put on 71 runs for the third wicket with Sean Ervine after Shaheen dismissed openers, Chari and skipper Chamu Chibhabha.
Earlier, Pakistan batting disappointed as all the top order batsmen struggled to even score at a run-a-ball run rate.
The Pakistani batsmen had some 150 dot balls in their innings as the Zimbabwean spinners, Chisoro (2/31), Madhevere and Sikander Raza (1/45) made run scoring difficult on a pitch which offered some help to them.
Pakistan surprisingly opted to go in with just one spinner, packing their attack with pacers and giving the ODI cap to Haris Rauf who has represented his country in T20Is.
Brief scores: Pakistan 281/8 in 50 overs (Haris Sohail 71, Imam-ul Haq 58, Imad Wasim 34 n.o. Chisro 2/31). Zimbabwe 255 49.4 overs (Brendon Taylor 112, Wesley Madhevere 55, Sean Ervine 41. Shaheen Shah Afridi 5/49, Wahab Riaz 4/41).