The last time Zimbabwe beat Pakistan in any format was 15 years ago. While Pakistan has lost, perhaps the most formidable sides in Zimbabwe’s history – one that was capable of standing up to the best international sides. With the cricket environment in the country that has undergone radical changes since then, any victory against the current settings of the upper side will be remembered for a long time. Coming off a disappointing T20 series, which Zimbabwe could not figure out how to close the chase, they held their composure and applied myself better, despite the short turnaround time.
A strong stand by the opening 107 between Vusi Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza was the basis in their pursuit of 245. Having dealt with the seamers with ease during the T20s, Zimbabwe’s chances of victory hung up on how they will perform outside their comfort zone. They looked uncomfortable against the spin trio in the T20s but crucially, this time, they are not allowed to run away with the spoon advantage. Saeed Ajmal managed to strike, but the long interval between the breakouts meant that Pakistan had always playing catch-up. In the final stage, Pakistan has created enough pressure to cause the equation before the ball, but a combination of bad luck and bizarre fielding meant that it was a day Zimbabwe.
Full report to follow
25 overs Zimbabwe 112 for 1 (Masakadza 50 *, 2 * Taylor) need another 133 runs to beat Pakistan 244 for 7 (Misbah 83 *, Hafeez 70)
Before this match, Hamilton Masakadza spoke about the importance of his duty as an opener to set the base and not allow pressure to build on the lower. Masakadza and his partner, Vusi Sibanda made promising starts in two T20s before giving it away, but in the long format settled in well with the positive chasing booth 245. Put on a pair of encouraging booth 107, to Sibanda fell soon after making his fifty.
Pakistan led to Junaid Khan, who missed the T20s, but he came in for some stick. His third went to a 12, which included three boundaries Masakadza. Openers were strong through out the game against left armers and border fence prompted captain Misbah-ul-Haq, to bring in the back on both ends of the eighth over.
Lures managed to keep the runs down but wickets eluded them. Misbah used all five bowlers at the end of 12 overs and the breakthrough finally came in the 24th when Sibanda was left behind to Saeed Ajmal ball that turned out Sibanda was in the previous over, smashed Mohammad Irfan over midwicket to bring up his fifty, but bowling change made wicket. Masakadza reached his fifty and over the next half-way stage, having received the necessary initial and good set of bat, Zimbabwe had all the necessary composure to close pursuit.
50 overs Pakistan 244 for 7 (Misbah 83 *, Hafeez 70) V Zimbabwe.0
Mohammad Hafeez raises his bat on the way back, Zimbabwe V Pakistan, first ODI, Harare, August 27, 2013.
Pakistan’s innings was a story in three parts. They found runs hard to come early due to steady seam bowling, restored in the middle of a busy thanks to Mohammad Hafeez in half a century, and stumbled to the end, otherwise the acceleration due to the pressure caused by the sudden fall of wickets. What prevented them from suffering a complete collapse was Misbah-ul-Haq, who carried on his good form from the West Indies with his fourth consecutive fifty.
This was mixed day for Zimbabwe in this area. A series of drops in the beginning showed that the team barely made any progress on this front, as India tour. While Pakistan openers were able to capitalize on those, let-off, falls, which are really worth Zimbabwe was Mohammad Hafeez’s when a 10. He went on to score 70, putting Pakistan on the path towards a competitive total. The pace of his innings was crucial, with Misbah stick to our proven conservative in the middle of the frame.
Since the beginning of the game for half an hour later than the scheduled start time of India ODIs that preceded this tour, the conditions have been more help to feed. Instead, the terms dictated by the seamers, beating the bat on several occasions, especially against Nasir Jamshed. After going six innings without a fifty – including T20s – Jamshed was under pressure to score, and his innings could have ended at 5 Vusi Sibanda was spent babysitting for the second slip.
Shehzad was the wicket of Zimbabwe desperately needed more, giving him two half-century – including 98 – in T20s. Tinashe Panyangara was unlucky bowler again when Shehzad, 15, a spoon straight to extra cover, where Sean Williams dropped a simple chance. Ironically, later went Panyangara victim offender from the game when he slipped in the six long-off by coming forward a few meters to catch Hafiz at the border.
Prosper Utseya gave Zimbabwe their first breakthrough when Shehzad was beaten up in a deadlock. Wicket Jamshed was a reward for some probing seam bowling Tendai Chatara, who drew the left-hander to drive forward and induced a thin edge to the keeper. Hafiz found early momentum with three sixes off Utseya, on the ground that, although he was not lucky the second marsupial on the edge of the boundary author.
Hafiz was strong through out the game, punishing offspinners in particular. He took 48 of his 70 runs off Utseya and Malcolm Waller, choosing large gaps wicket square on the off side. Brendan Taylor Perhaps sensing a great partnership, kept rotating his bowlers, using as many as eight bowlers to 31 overs. Part-time, Hamilton Masakadza, had Hafeez on 55, but Taylor, who stood up to the stumps, failed to collect the ball. It is a period cost Zimbabwe 15 runs before Hafeez Chatara hand cut straight to short third man.
Pakistan is trying to maintain a healthy run rate after that wicket. Umar Amin beating trying to complete the second run. Shahid Afridi played a typical Blink-and-you-missed-it cameo before edging whack. Haris Sohail was caught brilliantly Utseya, who ripped off one arm dazzle at short cover – to catch good enough to forget the previous sitters put Zimbabwe.
Innings Misbah had a high percentage of the people – he scored only two fours until the 46th over, and still managed a decent strike-rate of 81.69. However, he saved his big blow for the final over, cut Panyangara for massive blows over to the side to take Pakistan to 244. Zimbabwe will be happy, they are limited to Pakistan this account after Hafiz-Misbah partnership, but their chances of chasing it will depend on how they decide to spin-heavy attack in Pakistan, which caused them a lot of discomfort in the T20 series, which ended earlier.