Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo
Pakistan opener Fakhar Zaman struck a career-best 117 not out to lead his side to a comfortable nine-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the second ODI in Bulawayo.
Choosing to bat first, Zimbabwe got off to an awful start as opener Brian Chari was caught behind off the bowling of Usman Khan for one run.
Chamu Chibhabha suffered the same fate after scoring seven runs, but captain Hamilton Masakadza and Tarisai Musakanda amassed a 62-run partnership before Musakanda was trapped lbw off the bowling of Hasan Ali for 24.
Masakadza went on to score 59 off 75 balls, which included five boundaries and two sixes, before he was caught by Asif Ali at deep midwicket off the bowling of Shoaib Malik.
Wicketkeeper Ryan Murray mustered 16 runs before he was clean bowled by Hasan, while Donald Tiripano was cleaned up by Usman for 13.
Liam Roche was sent packing the very next delivery, while Wellington Masakadza scored 12 before being run out by Hasan.
Peter Moor had frustrated Pakistan up to this point and ended up scoring 50 off 86 balls, which included two boundaries and two sixes, before he was caught by Malik at long-on off the bowling of Hasan.
Zimbabwe were bowled out for 194 when Tendai Chatara was run out by Zaman for one run.
Usman was the pick of the bowlers with four wickets, while Hasan took three and Malik chipped in with one.
Chasing 195 to win, Pakistan made a superb start to their innings as Zaman and Imam-ul-Haq put together a 119-run partnership, during which Zaman raced past his half-century.
Zimbabwe finally got a breakthrough in the 21st over when Imam was run out by Blessing Muzarabani for 44.
Zaman and Babar Azam finished things off with a 76-run stand, during which Zaman surpassed his hundred.
Zaman ended up making 117 off 129 balls, which included 16 boundaries, while Azam remained undefeated on 29 off 36 deliveries, which included a solitary boundary.
Masakadza was disappointed to have lost, and said: “Tough day at the office. I got out at the wrong time trying to up the game, but the target was never going to be enough. We’re losing wickets at crucial times, and also not rotating the strike enough. They’ve played our spinners really well, and with such a score, it was always going to be difficult for our bowlers. Hopefully we can put up a better performance, and make the series competitive.”
Pakistan skipper Sarfraz Ahmed was delighted to have taken a 2-0 lead in the series, and said: “Thanks to Allah. Usman Khan Shenwari bowled brilliantly, but Fakhar and Babar did the job for us. Usman’s bowled really well after his injury. Took five wickets against Sri Lanka on a flat surface earlier. Getting better day by day.
“We are lacking a bit in the fielding [department], but otherwise we are doing very good. Chances of a couple of [changes], but first we want to win the series.”
Zaman was named Man of the Match, and said: “If you are in form, and you are giving your 100%, then the runs will come. Trying my level best, and doing well. Should utilise your good form. Today I was trying to go till the end. Tried with Imam, he was unlucky, but I wanted to stay till the end. Batting was easy in both innings.”