ISLAMABAD, Oct 30 (APP):Pakistani bowlers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Wahab Raiz help Pakistan pull-off a 26-runs victory over Zimbabwe in the first ODI at Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi on Friday.
Chasing a target of 282 runs, Zimbabwe went 26 runs short. Brenden Taylor was the star for his team, who scored 112 runs and took his side close to the target but was taken in the 46.5 over of Shaheen Shah Afridi by Wahab Raiz. He went for the big shot, and got a top edge.
Wesley Madhevere was the other hit-man for Zimbabwe who scored a half century (55) and was bold by Wahab in the 45.2 over. Craig Ervine also scored 41 runs on 69 balls including six 4s.
Afridi and Wahab were the main wicket-takers as they grabbed five and four wickets for 49 and 41 runs, respectively. Pacer Haris Rauf who was handed the ODI debut in the match and received the cap from bowling coach Waqar Younis was unable to take any wicket and gave 57 runs in 10 overs while Imad Wasim took one wicket for 49 runs.
Earlier, Captain Babar Azam won the toss and decided to bat first as Pakistan kick-started its Cricket World Cup Super League campaign. This was his first match at the Pindi Stadium as ODI captain. He was handed-over the responsibility during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown.
Left-handed batsman Haris Sohail and opener Imam-ul-Haq scored half centuries which helped Pakistan to set a total of 281 runs.
Haris went on to hit 71 runs off 82 balls including six 4s and two 6s while Imam smashed six 4s to score 58 runs. They were supported by Imad Wasim (34 off 26 balls) and Faheem Ashraf (23 off 16 balls).
Abid Ali was the first to go to the pavilion for Pakistan on 21 runs in the 10.6 over by Zimbabwe Carl Mumba. He tried to play across the line, missed it and paid the price.
Skipper Babar Azam (19) failed to score big and went down in the 17.2 over by Blessing Muzarabani. Next were Imam and Mohammad Rizwan (14) who fell in the 25.5 and 36.1 over, respectively. Iftikhar Ahmed (12) fell in the 41st over while Haris, Faheem and Wahab were sent to the pavilion in the 41.3, 46.1 and 47.5 overs, respectively.
For Zimbabwe, Blessing Muzarabani and Tendai Chisoro bagged two wickets each, while, Carl Mumba and Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza took one wicket each.
Pakistan-Zimbabwe game marked the return of ODI cricket to the Pindi Stadium, Rawalpindi after 14 years. The second and third ODI would be played on November 1 and 3, respectively while T20s will take place on November 7, 8 and 10.
Speaking at the post match video press conference, Pakistani Skipper Babar Azam regretted for not setting the total which was planned but gave credit to the batsman for giving a handsome score.
“Players got a bit rusty as were playing ODIs after a year. But the result will be different in the next match,” he said.
He also lauded the man of the match Taylor, for his magnificent innings and termed it as the turning point saying he alone took the match so close.
“I had faith on my bowlers. Afridi and Wahab finished outstanding. Afridi gives his 110 percent in the game,” he said.
He also expressed concern on the dot balls played by Pakistan. “We should not take any team easy but we will try to improve,” he said.
He said there was no excitement because of the crowd. “Pindi stadium was jam packed in the Pakistan Super League matches and in the series against Sri Lanka,” he said.