Pakistan vs Zimbabwe 2nd ODI: Azhar’s ton hands Pakistan unassailable 2-0 lead

Ali celebrates after scoring his second ODI century

Ali celebrates after scoring his second ODI century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali scored 102 to not only lead his side to a six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the second ODI at Lahore, but also give them an unassailable 2-0 lead in the series.

Ali was well supported by batsman Haris Sohail, who made an unbeaten 52.

However, Zimbabwe batsman Sikandar Raza and opener Chamu Chibhabha deserve a lot of credit as they made 100 and 99 respectively.

Zimbabwe got off to a solid start after Pakistan elected to bowl first, but soon started to lose wickets at regular intervals.

Chibhabha kept his cool during this period of time, but a lapse in concentration cost him his maiden ODI century as he was caught behind off the bowling of Shoaib Malik.

Chibhabha’s career-best knock of 99 came off 100 balls and included 11 boundaries and a six.

Chibhbha fell one agonising run short of his maiden ODI century

Chibhbha fell one agonising run short of his maiden ODI century

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

With all the other batsmen failing to put up much of a fight, Raza decided to take things into his own hands and launched a stunning assault against the Pakistan bowlers.

Raza battered the Pakistan bowling line-up into oblivion and remained unbeaten on 100 off 84 deliveries, which included eight boundaries and three sixes, as Zimbabwe finished on 268/7 off their 50 overs.

Raza's second ODI century went in vain

Raza’s second ODI century went in vain

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah picked up two wickets apiece, while Malik, Mohammad Hafeez and Anwar Ali chipped in with one wicket each.

Chasing 269 to win, Pakistan got off to a positive start before Sarfraz Ahmed was given out lbw off the bowling of Chibhabha for 22.

Hafeez only made 15 runs before he was caught by Charles Coventry at long-off off the bowling of Graeme Cremer.

Ali and Asad Shafiq steadied the innings with a 85-run partnership, during which Ali brought up his half-century, before Shafiq was caught by Raza at short cover off the bowling of Cremer for 39.

Ali and Sohail kept the runs flowing with a 56-run partnership, during which Ali registered his second ODI century, before he was caught by Sean Williams at point off the bowling of Tawanda Mupariwa.

Ali’s career-best knock of 102 came off 104 balls and included eight boundaries.

Sohail and Malik finished things off with an unbeaten 60-run partnership, during which Sohail recorded his half-century.

Sohail ended up making 52 off 49 balls, which included six boundaries, while Malik remained undefeated on 36 off 20 deliveries, which included four boundaries and a six.

Sohail hit six boundaries during his unbeaten knock of 52

Sohail hit six boundaries during his unbeaten knock of 52

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Cremer was the most successful bowler with two wickets, while Mupariwa and Chibhabha claimed one wicket each.

Zimbabwe stand-in captain Hamilton Masakadza was disappointed to have lost, and said: “The guys tried really hard. Raz and Chamu played really well. Lots of effort out there. Thought it was a drier wicket, still 20-30 short. Don’t get to play that many games, so the guys have to rally and pull something out the hat.”

Ali, who named Man of the Match, was delighted to have taken a 2-0 lead, and said: “Good performance from the team. Obviously you want to perform as captain. It’s been fabulous in both the series. All the seniors have helped guide me, they have taught me to concentrate on my game and focus on the controllables.

“Working on my batting, modern cricket has become fast and you need to keep pace with it and I hope with the grace of God, I can. Great effort from the boys, bowling was very good on a batting wicket to keep them to 268. Everyone knows we have a long way to go, but everyone is giving an effort. Thanks to the crowd as well.”

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