Hasan Ali was the standout performer from the Pakistan bowling attack, picking up four wickets
Pakistan edged out a gutsy Zimbabwe side by 24 runs in the third and final Twenty20 International (T20I) to clinch the three-match series two-one in Harare on Sunday.
After being set a target of 166 runs, Zimbabwe were off to a confident start. Pacer Hasan Ali, however, struck the first blow when he removed opener Tarisai Musakanda with a successful LBW appeal after the batsman had scored 10 runs off 11 balls.
Batsman Tadiwanashe Marumani then joined opener Wesley Madhevere for a 65-run partnership off 51 balls to provide a stable foundation for his side to chase down the imposing total.
With Pakistan in trouble, the bowlers stepped up and got breakthroughs in a crucial part of the chase.
Pacer Mohammad Hasnain first bowled Marumani (35 off 26 balls) before fast-bowler Hasan Ali forced a miscue from Madhevere (59 off 47 balls), expertly caught by wicketkeeper Sarfaraz Ahmed, as the Men in Green roared back into the match.
Hasan then removed batsman Regis Chakabva, caught by fielder Sharjeel Khan, for a golden duck as Zimbabwe’s chase started to unravel.
As the required rate climbed, Hasan removed batsman Sean Williams (nine off seven balls), caught by fielder Faheem Ashraf, and pacer Haris Rauf removed all-rounder Luke Jongwe (five off four balls), caught by fielder Hasan Ali, as Pakistan inched closer towards a T20I series victory.
Batsman Brendan Taylor (20 off 22 balls) succumbed to pacer Haris Rauf, caught by fielder Mohammad Rizwan, towards the end as Zimbabwe fell short of the target by 24 runs, ending on 141 runs with the loss of seven wickets in their allotted overs.
Hasan Ali, who bagged the award for player of the match, was the standout performer from the Pakistan bowling attack picking up four wickets at the expense of 18 runs from four overs.
Earlier, Pakistan’s most reliable batsmen Mohammad Rizwan and Babar Azam stepped up to guide their side to an imposing 165-run total.
After winning the toss and electing to bat first, Pakistan were off to a cautious start despite the introduction of hard-hitting opener Sharjeel Khan to the lineup.
The slow progress finally got to Sharjeel as he miscued a slower low full toss into the hands of fielder Blessing Muzarabani, off the bowling of pacer Luke Jongwe, after scoring 18 runs off 15 balls.
The fall of Sharjeel, however, brought out skipper Babar Azam who joined opener Mohammad Rizwan for a massive 126-run partnership off 89 balls.
Pacer Luke Jongwe finally got the better of Babar towards the end of the innings as the batsman miscued a slog into the waiting hands of fielder Ryan Burl after scoring 52 runs off 46 balls.
Jongwe then removed batsman Fakhar Zaman, caught by fielder Ryan Burl again, for a golden duck.
Mohammad Rizwan, however, remained unbeaten at the end with an incredible 91-run knock off 60 balls as Pakistan raced to an imposing total of 165 runs for the loss of three wickets in their allotted overs.
Luke Jongwe was the pick of the bowlers for Zimbabwe after taking three wickets at the expense of 37 runs in his four overs.
Mohammad Rizwan was declared player of the series after impressive performance at the top of the order.