Pakistan bags 11-run win over Zimbabwe in T20I series opener

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Harare: Wicketkeeper-batsman Mohammad Rizwan and bowlers helped Pakistan to clinch the T20I series opener against Zimbabwe by 11 runs at Harare Sports Club.

Green Shirts while defending 150, restricted the hosts to 138/7 in 20 overs. Luke Jongwe tried his best at the backend but couldn’t receive ample support to hand Zimbabwe a win after a great bowling display.

Earlier, Pakistan scored 149/7 in 20 overs courtesy of a lone effort by Rizwan. who scored unbeaten 82-ball 61 with no other batsman scoring big. Fakhar Zaman (13) and debutant Danish Aziz (15) were the other two batters to cross double-figures.

The visitors lost in-form captain Babar Azam (2) in the second over of the match after Zimbabwe’s skipper Sean Williams opted to bowl first. Blessing Muzarabani once again had the better of Babar, who gained second spot in ICC T20I Rankings earlier today.

Fakhar also looked rusty and managed to score 13 with the help of two fours. Madhevere took his scalp followed by a wicket of veteran Mohammad Hafeez (5).

Debutant Danish handed an easy catch to a short third-man fielder in the 13th over while Haider Ali once again disappointed fans. He scored five off nine balls.

Faheem Ashraf was the next one to depart courtesy of a brilliant fielding by Tadiwanashe Marumani as they tried to sneak a single. He was run out on the last ball of the 16th over.

Green Shirts had a breather in the last over where Rizwan smacked 20 runs to guide Pakistan to a competitive total. In his 61-ball inning, he stroked 10 fours and a six. For Zimbabwe, Luke Jongwe bagged 2/24 while Wesley Madhevere took 2/11.

Zimbabwe started the chase with Wesley Madhevere (14) smacking three boundaries inside three overs, however, Mohammad Hasnain pulled back the flowing rate of runs by picking two wickets in consecutive deliveries.

Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (29) and Craig Ervine (34) formed a partnership of 50 runs for third wicket. Veteran Hafeez dismissed Kamunhukamwe to break the partnership while Ervine departed courtesy of a great catch by Nawaz.

In the 13th over, Qadir removed Zimbabwe’s skipper Williams and Regis Chakabva, restricting visitors 95/6.

Luke Jongwe (30*) and Ryan Burl (14) tried to take Zimbabwe close to the target but were short by 11 runs. For Pakistan, Usman Qadir was the pick of the bowlers, picking 3/29 while Hasnain finished with figures of 2/27. Hafeez was economical in his quota of four overs, bagging one wicket for 21 runs.

The second T20I of the series will be played at the same venue on April 23 at 2.00 (PST).

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