Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 1st ODI: Shah crushes Zimbabwe with six-wicket haul

Shah finished with career-best figures of 6-26 off nine overs

Shah finished with career-best figures of 6-26 off nine overs

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Pakistan spinner Yasir Shah sliced through Zimbabwe’s batting line-up with a six-wicket haul to lead his side a convincing 131-run win in Harare.

Shah was well supported by batsman Mohammad Rizwan, who scored an unbeaten 75, and all-rounder Imad Wasim, who made 61.

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura would have been pleased to bowl first initially as Pakistan lost three wickets in quick succession.

With the tourists struggling at 35/3, wicketkeeper Sarfraz Ahmed and all-rounder Shoaib Malik scored 44 and 31 respectively to bring Pakistan back into contention.

However, after they were both dismissed, Rizwan and Wasim put Pakistan firmly in the driver’s seat with a 124-run partnership, during which they both brought up their half-centuries, before Wasim was run out by Zimbabwe wicketkeeper Richmond Mutumbami for a career-best 61 off 61 balls, which included five boundaries.

Pakistan ended up finishing on 259/6 off their 50 overs thanks to Rizwan’s career-best innings of 75 not out, which came off 74 deliveries and included four boundaries and two sixes.

Rizwan (left) and Wasim (right) both made career-best scores

Rizwan (left) and Wasim (right) both made career-best scores

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Tinashe Panyangara, Luke Jongwe, Graeme Cremer and John Nyumbu picked up one wicket apiece.

Chasing 260 to win, Zimbabwe struggled right from the get-go as none of their batsmen were able to make a major contribution. To illustrate this point further, all-rounder Sean Williams was the top-scorer with 26, while Chigumbura was the only other batsman to surpass the 20-run mark. As a result, Zimbabwe fell well short of their target as they were bowled out for 128.

Shah inflicted the most damage with six wickets, while Malik snapped up three and Wasim claimed one.

Chigumbura was disgusted with his side’s performance, and said: “They are using these conditions better than us. Especially withe spinners, the majority of the wickets were to their spinners. Just have to make sure, the next game is very important to bounce back and stay in this series.”

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali was delighted to have taken a 1-0 lead in the series, and said: “As a team we have performed very well. Early on it was tough, but the partnership between Sarfraz and Malik gave us belief and Rizwan and Wasim played exceptionally well. My arm is okay [after the blow in the first over], it surprised me, I did not think the ball might have bounced as much. But I think the ball was not coming onto the bat that well. The score we had, we were very confident of defending with the kind of spin attack we had. Imad Wasim and Yasir Shah and Shoaib Malik bowled really well.”

Shah was named Man of the Match, and said: “I played my debut here, and I was happy to come back and play this way. I have been practicing very hard. There was a bit of gap, but I did not feel any difficulty coming back from the off season. I was fully confident.”

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