KARACHI : Pakistan claimed an emphatic 74-run win over Zimbabwe in the first match of their T20I triangular series also featuring Australia.
Zimbabwe were rolled over for 108 runs in response to Pakistan’s 182-4 after the Men in Green were put in to bat.
Zimbabwe’s innings was bereft of momentum for the majority of their innings as their struggled to up the ante in search of quick runs.
Mohammad Nawaz — who once opened the bowling for Pakistan – picked up two wickets and conceded just 11 runs in four overs, helping Pakistan suffocate their opponents right from the get-go.
Hasan Ali and Usman Khan Shinwari also bagged a couple of wickets each, while Hafeez also gave his bowling muscles a go for the first time since being cleared by the International Cricket Council due to a suspect bowling action. The all-rounder claimed two wickets in just five deliveries to wrap up the innings.
Tarisai Musakanda was the only Zimbabwe batsman to offer any form of resistance, scoring 43 runs off 35 balls with the help of two boundaries. Solomon Mire scored 27 runs off 29 balls.
Earlier in the day, opener Fakhar Zaman led a strong Pakistan effort against Zimbabwe. Zaman seemed in control from the beginning of the innings and was the highest scorer in the Pakistan innings with 61 runs off 40 balls — which included three fours and three sixes.
Shoaib Malik and Asif Ali added impetus to the innings with some crisp hitting in the death overs. Malik accumulated 37 runs off 24 balls while Ali went on to score 41 runs off just 21 balls, which included four massive sixes.
In the process, Malik became the first Pakistan batsman to cross the 2,000 run mark in T20Is and the third overall after Kiwi duo of Brendon McCullum and Martin Guptill.
For Zimbabwe, Tendai Chisoro was the pick of the bowlers —dismissing both Zaman and skipper Sarfraz Ahmed — to finish with figures of 2-28 in his allotted four overs.
Meanwhile, Kyle Jarvis was taken for X-ray after he injured his thumb while attempting to take a Zaman catch at wide long-on.
In his absence, the Pakistan batsmen took Zimbabwe’s bowlers to the cleaners in the final phase of their batting as the last five overs reaped 61 runs. Jarvis also did not come out to bat during Zimbabwe’s run chase.
Asif Ali was declared the man of the match for his brisk innings at the tail-end of the Pakistan batting.
The Men in Green have now won 20 of their previous 23 matches since the 2016 World T20; the best record for any country during that span of time.
They are currently on an eight-match winning streak and will look to continue that run of form in their next match against Australia.
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