Pakistan clinched the three-match One-Day International (ODI) series with a 108-run win over Zimbabwe in the third ODI at the Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
Chasing 261, Zimbabwe were pegged back early when off-spinner Mohammad Hafeez shared the new ball with Mohammad Irfan and picked up a wicket in his second over. Opener Vusi Sibanda’s eyes lit up seeing a flighted delivery from Hafeez but failed to clear Umar Amin at deep midwicket.
Skipper Brendon Taylor, who held himself to a lower position throughout the ODI series against India, walked out at the fall of the first wicket. He started confidently with a boundary off the second ball he faced from Hafeez. Hafeez bowled a full delivery down the leg side and Taylor played a well-placed sweep shot to the boundary.
Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza started to build a partnership but the change in the bowling did the trick for the visitors. Abdur Rehman came on and tempted Masakadza to come down the wicket and take him on. In the process, he managed to deceive him with a flighted delivery and wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed completed the formality behind the stumps to leave the hosts at 46 for two in the 11th over.
Taylor soon followed him to the pavilion after confusion in the middle led to his run out in the 15th over. From 66 for three, Zimbabwe were soon reduced to 87 for six. The game looked beyond the hosts’ reach but Malcolm Waller and Prosper Utseya fought on and added 58 runs for the seventh wicket.
Once their partnership was broken via the third run out of the Zimbabwe innings, it was all but curtains for the hosts. Utseya departed after a resolute knock of 23 from 50 balls with the score at 147 for seven in the 37th over.
It took Pakistan just three more overs to take the remaining three wickets and register a comprehensive 108-run victory.