Pakistan lifted the ODI series 2-1 against Zimbabwe, winning the decisive match by 108 runs on the back of good performance in all departments.

[caption id="attachment_2264" align="alignright" width="300"]It was after 11 years that Pakistan won the decisive match of a series (Photo: AFP) It was after 11 years that Pakistan won the decisive match of a series (Photo: AFP)[/caption]

It was first time in 11 years that Pakistan won the series once it was levelled. They last time they did so was against Australia in 2002.

In today’s match at Harare, the hosts put the tourists into bat. Though Pakistani openers stood their ground until the 16th over, but once again it was a slow start for the team – 66 runs in 15.3 overs. The first batsman to be dismissed was Nasir Jamshed who scored 38 off 67. When Mohammad Hafeez got retired hurt at the total of 87, it seemed Pakistan were getting into hot water. But then came Misbah-ul-Haq, destined to be declared the player of the match.

Both Shehzad and Misbah guided the score forward quite slowly. The duo added mere 32 runs until the 33rd over. And when Shehzad finally decided to speed up the run rate, Hamilton Masakadza sent him packing. He scored 54 off 85.

At this stage, Umar Amin performed as needed. He helped the team make the most of the powerplay, making a quick 25-ball 33-run innings. Shahid Afridi once again failed to get into the double figures and fell prey to Tendai Chatara.

The need of the time was to expedite the run rate, and Misbah and Sarfaraz Ahmed played accordingly. Ahmed scored 22 off just 13 before being dismissed in the 49th over. Misbah, who had initially scored just 8 runs on 35 balls, completed is half-century on 74 balls. He lost his wicket on the fourth ball of the last over, scoring 67 runs.

Pakistan amassed 65 runs in the last 6 overs, which guided them to a respectable total of 260. The key partnership of 48 off 29 between Misbah and Sarfaraz perhaps snatched the match from the hosts.

Zimbabwe’s bowlers bowled skillfully in the first 40 overs, with Chatara giving only 15 runs in 6 overs and Prosper Utseya 23 in 7. Chatara gave 33 runs in his last 4 overs and Utseya gave 24 in 3.

Vusi Sibanda was the first to lose hi wicket as Zimbabwe started their chase. He was dismissed by Hafeez in the 4th over. Like Pakistan, the hosts also kept on dragging their innings at a snail’s pace. But Zimbabwe collapsed after H Masakadza lost his wicket in the 11th over, making 25 off 42.

Captain Brendan Taylor (26 off 29) lost his wicket in the space of 4 overs from Masakdza’s. Misbah’s direct throw ended his innings. As Zimbabwe were still reeling from the skipper’s loss, Sikandar Raza was lbw by Hafeez. Sean Williams faced the same fate as Taylor’s. Another throw by Misbah sent him packing. Half of Zimbabwe’s side was back to the pavilion on 75.

Malcolm Waller and Utseya tried to resist with 48 and 23 runs, respectively, but to no avail. They could only lead the score to 152 in 40 overs. Pakistan sealed victory by a huge margin and clinched the series 2-1.

Saeed Ajmal, Abdur Rehman and Hafeez took two wickets apiece, where Afridi took one. Pakistan’s pacers could not claim a wicket.

Misbah was declared player of the match for his batting and fielding heroics, and Hafeez was given the player-of-the-series award for scoring most runs.

Now both teams will play the first Test from Sept 3 in Harare.
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