Babar Azam
File Photo

ISLAMABAD, Nov 07 (APP):Skipper Babar Azam’s 82 helped Pakistan defeat Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 by six wickets at Pindi Stadium Rawalpindi on Saturday.

Pakistan achieved the target in 18.5 overs as Babar and Muhammad Hafeez provided an 80-run partnership off 56 balls for the third wicket.

Hafeez went for 36 runs in 18.2 over, as he got an inside edge on Blessing’s ball. Hafeez and Babar reached the fifty run (53) partnership off 36 balls. Babar, who was declared man of the match, was downed by Tendai Chatara in the 17 over when he tried to leave the ball away over the midwicket but mistimed it and was taken by Wesley Madhevere at deep midwicket.

Babar who led Pakistan from the front, scored 82 runs off 55 balls including nine 4s and a six. Babar and Haider Ali also provided a 26-run partnership for the second wicket.
Haider (7) was edged by Richard Ngarava in the 7.5 over as he tried to play across the line but got the thick edge and was taken by Taylor behind the stumps. Babar reached his fifty in the 10.1 over.

Pakistan reached it’s 100 in the 12th over. Pakistan started lucky as opener Fakhar Zaman was dropped by Chibhabha on 1.2 over when he was on six. He hit the first six for Pakistan in the 3.4 over to Blessing Muzarabani, but couldn’t carry on as was dismissed by Blessing on 19 runs.

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Pakistan’s 50 came in the sixth over. Earlier, Zimbabwean Skipper Chamu Chibhabha who won the toss and chose to bat first, was the first to be sent to the pavilion on a duck in the first over by Mohammad Hasnain.

He was deemed lbw by the umpire but took a review and the replay showed that it was hitting top of off stump. Haris Rauf was the one to dismiss the danger man Brendan Taylor for 20 runs including three 4s in 4.1 over.

He flicked the ball off his pads in the air and it went straight in the hands of Haider Ali.

Usman Qadir, son of legendary Spin-Wizard, Abdul Qadir did not take time to prove his mettle as took his maiden T20 wicket when he bold Sean Williams in the 9.2 over for 25.

Pacer Wahab Raiz bagged Sikandar Raza’s (7) wicket in the 10.5 over. Haris struck again and took his second wicket when he bold Ryan Burl for 8 in the 1.3 over. Wahab took his second wicket of Elton Chigumbura (21) on the last ball of the first innings.

Chigumbura was all set to retire from all forms of international cricket at the conclusion of the on-going Pakistan tour. He was one of Zimbabwe’s most-capped players, having played 281 international matches – excluding the current series – in which he made 5761 runs and took 138 wickets.

For Zimbabwe Wesley Madhevere was the pick of the batsman as he remained not out scoring 70 runs off 48 balls including nine 4s and a six which helped his team to put a decent total on the scoreboard of 156 runs for six.

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Both teams would play the remaining T20s on November 8 and 10 at Rawalpindi. Earlier, Pakistan clinched the three-match ODI against Zimbabwe series by 2-1. Pakistan won the first ODI by 26 runs while defeated Zimbabwe by six wickets in the second. However, Zimbabwe defeated the Green-shirts in the last ODI in a nerve-racking super over.

Speaking on the occasion, Babar said they got a lot of confidence after winning this match. “I went with my plan. It was all about one partnership that was between me and Hafeez which changed the match.

The wicket was good, the ball was coming a bit lower but after some overs it came good,” he said.

The young prolific batsman said the young squad was performing good in every situation and were bowling well. “Usman did well. The more you back your players the more confidence they will get.

We rested our main bowlers and gave youngsters the chance. We will try to rotate the players as to see where our bench stands,” he said.

The Lahore-born cricketer said Shadab Khan was also not fit as we want him for the next T20. “He’s improving but we will see him in the third game,” he said.