BRISBANE: Pacer Wahab Riaz put an all-round performance to help Pakistan record their first triumph and stay in the race for World Cup quarterfinal berth after beating Zimbabwe by 20 runs here on Sunday at Brisbane Cricket Ground.
Wahab first scored a quick and unbeaten fifty to help Pakistan post 235-7 and then took four wickets to restrict Zimbabwe to 220-9.
Set to chase a target of 236 runs, Zimbabwe lost its openers early with Chamu Chibhabha (nine) and Sikandar Raza (eight) losing their wickets with team’s scorecard of 22-2 in 6.4 overs. Mohammad Irfan took both the wickets with Haris Sohail taking catch on both occasions.
Irfan took the third wicket also when skipper Misbah took Hamilton Masakadza (29) catch. Wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor recorded a fifty to help his side get closer to the target. But soon after he scored 50 runs, pacer Wahab Riaz removed when he edged to wicketkeeper Umar Akmal, who managed to grab the ball this time. Zimbabwe had reached 128-4 in 29.3 overs, when Taylor departed from the crease.
Sean Williams followed Taylor soon when Ahmed Shahzad took a good catch off Rahat Ali’s delivery. Irfan took his fourth wicket when he removed Solomon Mire (8) as Akmal took another catch behind wickets. Craig Ervine (14) followed after he also edged to Akmal off Wahab Riaz delivery.
Tawanda Mupariwa also lost his wicket to Wahab and Akmal caught him behind wickets. The team had by then scored 168-8 in 39.2 overs.
Captain Elton Chigumbura (35) batted well for the side under pressure with Tinashe Panyangara (10) to bring their team close to the target before losing their wickets. Panyangara got run out when Wahab collected a throw from Akmal and then directly hit the wicket. Wahab also removed Chigumbura, who edged to Akmal.
Earlier, Pakistan openers Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shahzad continued with their lackluster performance after their combined score of one run.
Pacer Tendai Chatara took Nasir’s wicket in the second over when Pakistan born Sikander Raza took his catch. Nasir, who lost his wicket for a duck against West Indies, managed only a single run.
Chatara, in the fourth over also took the wicket of Shahzad (0), who edged to wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor.
All-rounder Haris Sohail (27) and captain Misbah-ul-Haq then added 57 before the former lost his wicket to Raza when Williams caught him.
Misbah also added 69 runs with Akmal (33), who was later bowled by Williams with Pakistan’s score of 4-127 in 33.3 overs.
Shahid Afridi, who is celebrating his birthday today, soon returned to the pavilion without scoring a single run to the awe of the spectators.
Sohaib Maqsood (21) was the next to lose his wickets. He played a half hearted shot off Tawanda Mupariwa ball and was caught and bowled.
When Pakistan has just crossed 200-mark, Misbah (73) lost his wicket to Chatara and was caught by Williams. The team score showed 202-7 in 46.1 overs.
Pacer Wahab (54) knocked an unbeaten fifty off only 46 balls with the help of six boundaries and six while Sohail Khan scored six runs as Pakistan reached 235-7 in allotted 50 overs.
It was an important for Pakistan after a couple of comprehensive defeats at the hands of India and West Indies.