Pakistan registered a comfortable 25-run victory over hosts Zimbabwe in the first T20 International at Harare on Friday.
Zimbabwe got off to a steady start in their quest of chasing 162 to win. The openers Hamilton Masakadza (18) and Vusi Sibanda (31) put on 53 runs for the opening stand in 47 deliveries. Although Zimbabwe’s innings had stability, the batsmen never accelerated.
Brendan Taylor scored crucial runs. However, the pace of his innings didn’t help the team’s cause as Zimbabwe kept moving away from the course of victory.
Shahid Afridi was the pick of the bowlers for the visitors as he picked up three wickets for 25 runs in four overs.
Earlier, riding on an inspired 50-ball 70 by Ahmed Shehzad, Pakistan posted a total of 161 for five in their 20 overs after losing the toss and being put to bat first by Taylor.
Zimbabwe got off to a good start as pacer Tendai Chatara scalped the wickets of opener Nasir Jamshed and skipper Mohammad Hafeez in his first two overs.
However, the visitors took control from thereon and in company of the young Umar Amin, Shehzad put on a steady partnership of 30 runs for the third wicket. But, trying to sweep a flat delivery, Amin top-edged Prosper Utseya as skipper Brendan Taylor ran backwards to take a good catch. Halfway down the innings, Pakistan were 57 for three.
It was at the end of the 11th over that Pakistan looked to up the ante as Shoaib Maqsood and Shezad slammed 17 runs off Elton Chigumbura’s first over.
Maqsood struck two sixes and a boundary while Shezad’s innings included six hits to the fence and one out of the ground.
Nonetheless, Zimbabwe’s miseries didn’t end with the fall of Shehzad. Afridi hit some lusty blows towards the end of the innings to take Pakistan past 150.
For Zimbabwe, Prosper Utseya was the most effective bowler as he gave away just 15 runs in his four overs including the prized scalp of Amin.
Pakistan 161 for 5 in 20 overs (Ahmed Shehzad 70, Shoaib Maqsood 26, Shahid Afridi 23*; Tendai Chatara 2 for 30) bt Zimbabwe 136 for 5 in 20 overs (Brendan Taylor 32*, Vusi Sibanda 31; Shahid Afridi 3 for 25) by 15 runs