Off-spinner Iftikhar Ahmed’s maiden five-wicket haul helped Pakistan record a comprehensive six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the second match of the three-match ODI series that is a part of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, Rawalpindi on Sunday evening.
The victory gave Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series. The Greenshirts also earned 10 additional super league points; they now have 20 points (two wins in two matches). Overall, today’s win was Pakistan’s eight consecutive in the ODI format.
Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bat first. Pakistan gave ODI caps to Haider Ali and Musa Khan, fast bowler Haris Rauf appearing in his second ODI picked his first wicket in the format when he dismissed Zimbabwe skipper Chamu Chibhabha (6) with wicketkeeper Mohammad Rizwan taking the catch.
Craig Ervine became Musa’s first international wicket when he was bowled for three; Musa had played one Test and one T20I before today’s match but had remained wicket-less.
Brian Chari was dismissed for 25 runs by Faheem Ashraf which left Zimbabwe 59 for three in the 16th over. Iftikhar then took the centre stage; his first wicket was of Brendan Taylor who fell for 36 off 45 balls (three fours, two sixes) with Imam-ul-Haq taking the catch.
Man-of-the-match Iftikhar kept chipping away with wickets while bowling a probing line and length with his off-spin as Zimbabwe slipped from 120 for three to 206 all out in the 46th over of their innings. Iftikhar ended with figures of 10-2-40-5.
Musa added Carl Mumba’s wicket to finish off the Zimbabwe innings, the right-armer took two wickets for 21 runs in 6.1 overs.
In reply, Pakistan openers Imam and Abid Ali provided a 68-run start which was broken when Abid was sent packing by Tendai Chisoro for 22.
Chisoro made the second breakthrough when he had Imam caught behind for 49 (five fours, 61 balls). Imam fell with 100 runs on the board in 16.2 overs.
Haider displayed his shot range in a breezy 29 off 24 balls which included two sixes and one four. He was dismissed lbw by Williams with the total at 137 in the 22nd over. Sikander Raza accounted for Rizwan who fell for one with the total at 162 in 26.1 overs.
Iftikhar (16 not out, 24 balls, one four) finished the game in the company of his captain Babar Azam who remained not out on a typically stylish 77 off 74 balls (seven fours, two sixes) as Pakistan completed the chase with six wickets and 88 balls to spare.
The pair of Babar and Iftikhar added 46 runs for the unbroken fifth-wicket partnership. Babar’s fifty was the 16th of his prolific ODI career; he also has 11 hundreds to his name. Chisoro took two wickets for 49 runs in his 10 overs.
The third and final ODI of the series will be played on Tuesday at the same venue.
Scores in brief:
Zimbabwe 206, all out in 45.1 overs (Sean Williams 75, Brendan Taylor 36; Iftikhar Ahmed 5-40, Musa Khan 2-21)
Pakistan 208-4 35.2 overs (Babar Azam 77 not out, Imam-ul-Haq 49, Haider Ali 29; Tendai Chisoro 2-49)
Result: Pakistan won by six wickets
Man-of-the-match – Iftikhar Ahmed
3 Nov – 3rd ODI, Rawalpindi. Aleem Dar and Rashid Riaz (on-field umpires), Ahsan Raza (third umpire), Asif Yaqoob (fourth umpire); Javed Malik (match referee)