Impressive death bowling from Shaheen Afridi and Wahab Riaz helped Pakistan secure a 26-run victory over Zimbabwe in the first ODI in Rawalpindi.
Despite a record-breaking century from Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe could only muster 255 in their pursuit of Pakistan’s 281/8. This meant that the hosts secured 10 points in their first Cricket World Cup Super League fixture.
Batting first, Imam-ul-Haq knocked a steady 58 for the home team before he was run out in a mix-up with Haris Sohail, with Pakistan at 119/3 just after the halfway point. However, Haris made amends by holding the fort at one end, scoring an impressive 71 before falling to Sikandar Raza in the 41st over.
At 205/6, Imad Wasim (34*) and Faheem Ashraf (23) upped the scoring rate to help the home team finish on a respectable 281/8 from their allotted overs. Blessing Muzarabani (2/39 in eight) and Tendai Chisoro (2/31 in five) were the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers.
Zimbabwe’s reply got off to a torrid start, as Afridi ripped through Brian Chari and Chamu Chibhabha in his first three overs. Craig Ervine and Taylor set about repairing the innings thereafter.
Ervine perished in the 22nd over for 41, but youngster Wesley Madhevere knocked a mature 55 to support Taylor. The Zimbabwe keeper made his 17th international century – surpassing Andy Flower’s record in the process. He now has the most number of centuries for Zimbabwe across formats.
But when Taylor was removed for 112 by Afridi in the 47th over, the game swung back in the hosts’ favour. Riaz (4/41 in 9.4) and Afridi (5/49 in 10) sealed victory for Pakistan with some excellent death bowling.
The two teams will meet again this Sunday in Rawalpindi for the second ODI – and another 10 points in the Cricket World Cup Super League up for grabs.