Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 1st ODI: Hamilton Masakadza leads Zimbabwe to shocking win over Pakistan

Image courtesy of: The Express Tribune

Masakadza was Zimbabwe’s knight in shining armour

Zimbabwe opening batsman Hamilton Masakadza played a hero’s innings as he led his side to an astonishing seven-wicket win over Pakistan in the first ODI at Harare Sports Club.

Masakadza was well supported by his opening partner Vusi Sibanda, who scored an impeccable half-century, while credit must also go to Pakistan captain Misbah-ul-Haq for his fighting knock of 83 and all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez for his innings of 70.

Ul-Haq won the toss and elected to bat first, which did not concern Zimbabwe skipper Brendan Taylor as he believed his bowlers would receive some early assistance from the pitch.

However, that didn’t seem to be the case as Pakistan got off to a flying start with their opening pair of Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad registering a 56-run partnership before Shehzad was stumped by Taylor off the bowling of Prosper Utseya.

Jamshed followed soon after as he was caught behind off the bowling of Tendai Chatara for 27.

With Pakistan having been dealt a double blow, Hafeez and ul-Haq soon rectified that with a 99-run partnership, during which Hafeez brought up his half-century, before he was eventually on his way back to the pavilion after scoring 70 runs off 71 balls, which included six boundaries and three sixes.

Ul-Haq soon recorded his own half-century and, despite the entire middle and lower order failing to make any major contributions, the Pakistan captain led his team to 244 at the end of their 50 overs with an unbeaten 83 off 85 deliveries, which included three boundaries and two maximums.

Chatara and Brian Vitori were the pick of Zimbabwe’s bowlers with two wickets apiece, while Utseya chipped in with one.

Chasing 245 to win, Zimbabwe got off to an extraordinary start as Masakadza and Sibanda put together a 107-run partnership, during which Sibanda brought up his own half-century, before he was dismissed shortly after for 54 off 82 balls, which included six boundaries.

Masakadza also reached his half-century as he and Taylor kept up the strong start Zimbabwe had made with an excellent 69-run partnership before Masakadza had to depart for 85 off 104 deliveries, which included nine boundaries and a six.

Despite a less than impressive innings from Timycen Maruma, who only scored 18 runs, Zimbabwe went on to stun Pakistan as Taylor and Sean Williams put together a quickfire 45-run partnership, which came at a run rate of 8.43, to lead the African nation to victory.

Taylor finished unbeaten on 43 off 59 balls, which included four boundaries, while Williams remained undefeated on 39 off 23 deliveries, which included four boundaries and a six.

Pakistan spinner Saeed Ajmal was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while pace bowler Junaid Khan picked up one.

Masakadza was named the Man of the Match for his outstanding knock of 85.

“I knew that the wicket was going to get better in the afternoon,” he said. “The pitch was better to bat on after the first 10 overs and we just wanted to start well and build a partnership. We were just one down when Taylor came out so there weren’t really any nerves at that time.”

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