Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 74 runs in tri-series opener

Visitors outclassed Zimbabwe in all departments of the game at Harare

Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 74 runs in tri-series opener PHOTO: AFP

Pakistan have comprehensively defeated Zimbabwe by 74 runs in the first match of the T20 triangular series. 

Zimbabwe were rolled over for 108 runs in response to Pakistan's target of 183 runs.

Zimbabwe’s innings remained bereft of momentum for majority of the time as their struggled to up the ante, in search of quick runs.

Mohammad Nawaz—who opened the bowling for Pakistan–picked up two wickets and conceded just 11 runs in four overs, which helped Pakistan tighten the noose around their opponents. Hasan Ali and Usman Khan Shinwari also bagged couple of wickets each.

Hafeez also flexed his bowling muscles for the first time since being cleared by the International Cricket Council on suspect bowling action. He picked up two wickets in five deliveries to wrap up the innings.  

Tarisai Musakanda was the only Zimbabwe batsman who could offer some resistance—he scored 43 runs off 35 balls with the help of two boundaries. Solomon Mire scored 27 runs off 29 balls. 

Earlie opener Fakhar Zaman led a strong Pakistan effort against Zimbabwe—after they were asked to bat first by the hosts—in the first T20I of the triangular series. He 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 gave impetus to the innings with 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.

Malik also became the first Pakistan batsman to cross the 2000 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 Sarfraz Ahmed—with figures of 2-28 in his allotted four overs.

Kyle Jarvis was taken for X-ray after he injured his thumb while attempting to take a catch at wide long on. In his absence, Pakistan batsmen took their bowlers to the cleaners in the final phase of their batting—which reaped 61 runs in five overs. Jarvis also did not come out to bat during Zimbabwe's run chase.

Asif Ali was declared player of the match for his brisk innings at the tail-end of Pakistan batting, which propelled Pakistan to a strong total.

The Men in Green have now won 20 of their previous 23 matches—since the 2016 World T20—which is the best record for any country during that span of time.They are currently on a eight match winning streak and will look to continue that run of form in the their next match against Australia tomorrow.

Post-match thoughts  

“Only bright point was winning the toss. They had a good Powerplay and put us under pressure,” said Zimbabwe captain Masakadza after the match. “I thought we have them 20 runs extra. They guys filled in okay but we lost our way a bit the middle period.”

“The way Zaman, Asif, and Malik did the job for us...It looked like a good batting pitch. The ball did not come on in the first innings, but in the second it came on nicely,” said winning captain Sarfraz. “Credit goes to the bowlers, especially Usman and Nawaz. Plenty of cricket to be played in the series. Hopefully, we will do well.”