Half-centuries by skipper Misbah-ul-Haq and Mohammad Hafeez took Pakistan to 244 for seven in their 50 overs against Zimbabwe in the first One-Day International at Harare on Tuesday.
Pakistan got off to a slow but steady start as the openers put on a half-century stand for the first wicket. In-form opener Ahmed Shehzad was the first player to be dismissed as he failed to read Prosper Utseya’s arm-ball as he was stumped lunging forward to the delivery. The openers added 56 runs for the first wicket in 89 balls.
Although the start was slow after winning the toss and electing to bat first, the run-rate picked up as soon as Mohammad Hafeez walked out to bat. The second wicket partnership between Hafeez and Nasir Jamshed didn’t last long as the left-hander edged an away going delivery to the wicket-keeper with Pakistan on 80.
With both teams on even grounds at this stage, skipper Misbah walked into bat. The experienced duo took charge of the batting as they showed purpose and intent to bat right till the end. The pair added 99 runs in 17.5 overs before Hafeez gave an easy catch to short third man. The soft dismissal ended a brilliant 71-ball 70 runs innings that included six hits to the fence and three huge sixes.
Although the stage was set for the lower-middle order to explode, the batsmen lost their wickets in pursuit of quick runs. With Misbah running out of partners, Sarfaraz Ahmed was declared run-out in bizarre circumstances as television replays suggested that a part of his bat was inside the crease.
Even in the slog overs, Misbah resisted the urge to play big shots and instead chose to rotate the strike. It was only in the first ball of the final over that the Pakistani skipper hit the ball out of the park. He followed it up with another six in the fifth ball of that over, however conceding three dots in between.
Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor, who had a good day behind the wickets, used eight bowlers in the innings. For hosts, Prosper Utseya was unusually expensive. Although he dismissed the dangerous Shehzad, he gave away 60 runs in his 10 overs.
Tendai Chatara was the pick of the bowlers for the hosts as he scalped two wickets for just 32 runs in his 10 overs. In his first eight overs he gave away just 16 runs. Chatara was well assisted by Brian Vitori who triggered Pakistan’s batting collapse towards the end of the innings with two crucial wickets of Shahid Afridi and Haris Sohail. Vitori was also in spotlight for effecting Umar Amin’s run-out.
Although Tinashe Panyangara went wicketless, he gave away just 38 runs from 10 overs. Overall, Taylor would have been happy with his team’s bowling performance.
Pakistan 244 for 7 in 50 overs (Misbah-ul-Haq 83*, Mohammad Hafeez 70; Tendai Chatara 2 for 32, Brian Vitori 2 for 42) vs Zimbabwe