Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 1st T20: Ahmed Shehzad helps Pakistan cruise past Zimbabwe

Image courtesy of: NDTV

Shehzad gave Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the two-match series

Pakistan drew first blood in their two-match Twenty20 series against Zimbabwe thanks to a brilliant 70 by opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad and some excellent all-round spin bowling.

Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor won the toss and elected to field first, which surprised many people as the pitch looked to be a batsman’s dream.

However, it was Zimbabwe who were on top early into the match, especially after they dismissed opener Nasir Jamshed and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez in quick succession.

With Pakistan struggling to mount any kind of offence, Shehzad and debutant Shoaib Maqsood stabilised the innings with an outstanding 55-run partnership at a run rate of 8.91, during which Shehzad brought up his own half-century, before Maqsood was caught out on 26 off 16 balls, which included one boundary and two sixes.

Zimbabwe pace bowler Shingi Masakadza eventually dismissed Shehzad for 70 off 50 deliveries, which included six boundaries and one maximum.

However, some late fireworks by veteran all-rounder Shahid Afridi ensured Pakistan posted a respectable total of 161 at the end of their 20 overs.

Afridi remained undefeated on 23 off 16 balls, which included one boundary and a six.

Tendai Chatara was the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers with two wickets, while Masakadza, Prosper Utseya and Elton Chigumbura all chipped in with one wicket apiece.

Chasing a difficult target of 162 to win, Zimbabwe got off to a flying start as their opening pair of Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda put together a 53-run partnership before Masakadza was dismissed for 18.

Masakadza’s wicket led to a collapse in Zimbabwe’s top and middle order, with the exception of Sibanda and Taylor.

Sibanda scored 31 off 42 balls, which included three boundaries, while Taylor registered 32 runs off 30 deliveries, which included three boundaries as well.

Besides them, no other player made any real contributions, which led to Zimbabwe losing the match by 25 runs.

Afridi inflicted the most damage with three wickets, while Hafeez and Anwar Ali both snapped up one wicket each.

Shehzad was named the Man of the Match for his match-winning innings of 70.

“It was doing a little bit early on, thats why Zimbabwe picked up those early wickets,” he said. “But the ball came on a little easier as the game got on and we were looking to lay a good foundation because we knew we had a big hitter like Shahid Afridi in the line-up and with our bowling we knew we could defend our total”

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