Image courtesy of: Zimbio
Pakistan all-rounder Faheem Ashraf took a career-best five wickets to help his side crush Zimbabwe by nine wickets in the third ODI in Bulawayo.
Ashraf’s magnificent performance with the ball also saw Pakistan secure an unassailable 3-0 series lead.
Choosing to bat first, Zimbabwe were dealt a big blow on the eighth ball of the match as debutant Prince Masvaure was caught behind off the bowling of Usman Khan for one run.
Captain Hamilton Masakadza failed to have much of an impact with the bat as he was caught by the returning Yasir Shah at mid-off off the bowling of Junaid Khan for 10 runs.
Junaid also took out Tarisai Musakanda before Ashraf took over and ripped through Zimbabwe’s middle and lower order. He also removed opening batsman Chamu Chibhabha, who was Zimbabwe’s top-scorer with 16 runs.
With none of the Zimbabwe batsmen putting up a fight, the hosts imploded and were skittled out for an embarrassing 67.
Ashraf was the pick of the bowlers with five wickets, while Junaid took two, and Usman, Yasir and Shadab Khan chipped in with one wicket apiece.
Chasing 68 to win, Pakistan got off to the worst possible start as opener Imam-ul-Haq was caught behind off the bowling of Blessing Muzarabani for a golden duck on the first ball of the innings.
Despite their disastrous start, Fakhar Zaman and Babar Azam finished things off with an unbeaten 69-run partnership.
Zaman finished on 43 off 24 balls, which included eight boundaries, while Azam remained undefeated on 19 off 34 deliveries, which included three boundaries.
Muzarabani was the only bowler to take a wicket.
Masakadza was less than impressed with his side’s performance, and said: “It was a bit of a disaster straight up. We just tell the guys to stay positive and try to rectify the wrongs done today. It’s not easy to come back, though. We need more application. Soft dismissals and technical errors to go with it. Hopefully, we come out firing next game.”
Pakistan skipper Safraz Ahmed was delighted with his side’s dominant win, and said: “First of all, a great performance. Ashraf and Junaid bowled well but we can do with tough matches. Ashraf getting better day by day and is he an all-rounder and we need him. We will try to give opportunities to the other players in the next two games.”
Ashraf was named Man of the Match.