Responsible batting by Ahmed Shehzad and an all-round performance by Shahid Afridi helped Pakistan clinch a 25-run victory against Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20. Although the hosts started their both innings well, they failed to outperform the experience of the tourists.

[caption id="attachment_2218" align="alignright" width="202"]Shahid Afridi scored 23 vital runs and took three wickets. However, Shehzad was declared as the man-of-the-match (Photo: AFP) Shahid Afridi scored 23 vital runs and took three wickets. However, Shehzad was declared as the man-of-the-match (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

Zimbabwe opted to bowl first after winning the toss of the match played at Harare Sports Club. They took the lead as the match started after Tendai Chatara sent packing Nasir Jamshed and Mohammad Hafeez on 21 runs. The match’s outcome might have been different, but for Shehzad’s 70, debutant Sohaib Maqsood’s 26 and Afridi’s late 23. Shehzad’s role in the visitors’ batting was pivotal as he stood his ground after Pakistan had lost three earlier wickets.

His innings of 50-ball 70 came to an end when he had scored a partnership of 55 with Maqsood. In an attempt to further speed up the run rate, he gave a catch near lond-on boundary. His innings included six fours and one six.

Studded with two sixes and one four, Maqsood’s innings of 16 off 26 was quite impressive. A well running catch by Sibanda ended his knock in the 15th over.

Afridi’s 23 off 16 in the final moments helped Pakistan reach a respectable total of 161. He hit one six and one four in his quick knock.

Chatara took two wickets while Prosper Utseya, Shingi Masakadza and Chigumbura clinched one wicket apiece.

Zimbabwe’s batsmen gave a befitting start to the team. Openers Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda provided a good opening stand of 53 runs to the hosts, making the situation quite worrisome for Pakistani bowlers. However, Anwar Ali ended the partnership, which was going to be devastating for the tourists. Ali’s victim was Masakadza, who made 18 off 16. Then Pakistani skippers erected barriers for the hosts, making their chase difficult from easy, and then impossible at last.

Afridi clean bowled Sibanda (31 off 42) in the 13th over. Sean Williams was lbw in the next over by Mohammad Hafeez after making just nine runs. Now Zimbabwe were in the position where a comeback was almost impossible. Though captain Brendan Taylor was at the crease, the increasing run rate proved deadly. Afridi grabbed two more wickets – Timycen Maruma and Chigumbura – and the host could only make 136 in full 20 over at the loss of five wickets.

Afridi clinched three wickets, giving 25 runs, whereas Hafeez and Ali took one wicket each.

Shehzad was given the player-of-the-match award for playing the key innings of the days.

Having taken as unassailable lead in the two-match T20 series, Pakistan will take on Zimbabwe tomorrow (Saturday) at the same venue. A 2-0 win in the series will bring the green shirts closer to the top spot in the T20 rankings.

Zimbabwe vs Pakistan

1st Twenty 20 International

August 23, 2013

Venue: Harare Sports Club

Result: Pakistan won by 25 runs

Player of the match: Ahmed Shehzad

Ahmed Shehzadc Waller b SW Masakadza705061
Nasir Jamshedc Vitori b Chatara2500
Mohammad Hafeezc †Taylor b Chatara3800
Umar Aminc †Taylor b Utseya141810
Sohaib Maqsoodc Sibanda b Chigumbura261612
Shahid Afridinot out231611
Anwar Alinot out10710
Extras(lb 5, w 8)13
Total(5 wickets; 20 overs; 92 mins)161


Zimbabwe (bowling)OversMaidenRunsWickets
Prosper Utseya40151
Tendai Chatara40302
Brian Vitori40260
Shingi Masakdza40371
Sean Williams20180
Elton Chigumbura20301


زمبابوےTarget: 162 runsRunsBalls4s6s
Hamilton Masakadzalbw b Anwar Ali181630
Vusi Sibandab Shahid Afridi314230
Brendan Taylornot out323030
Sean Williamslbw b Mohammad Hafeez9710
Timycen Marumast Sarfraz Ahmed b Shahid Afridi101310
Elton Chigumburab Shahid Afridi6510
Malcolm Wallernot out14711
Extras(b 5, lb 2, w 9)16
Total(5 wickets; 20 overs; 83 mins)136


Pakistan (bowling)OversMaidenRunsWickets
Sohail Tanvir40230
Mohammad Irfan30180
Anwar Ali30211
Saeed Ajmal40300
Shahid Afridi40253
Mohammad Hafeez20121
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