A fighting knock by Misbah-ul-Haq and an all round performance by Wahab Riaz helped Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 20 runs. With this win, Pakistan keep their hopes of qualification alive with two matches remaining. The Pakistan bowlers did well to defend a modest total of 235 by bowling the Zimbabweans out for 215.
Tendai Chatara removes Pakistan openers early, Misbah stars with the bat once again
Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat. Zimbabwean medium pacer Tendai Chatara continued his good form as he got rid of Ahmed Shehzad (0) and Nasir Jamshed (1) early in the innings. Only 14 runs were scored in the mandatory powerplay for the loss of two wickets. The repair work was once again left to skipper Misbah-ul-Haq who began to steady the innings along with Haris Sohail.
Misbah and Sohail added 54 runs for the third wicket before the latter was caught at short mid-wicket by Sean Williams off Sikandar Raza’s bowling. Umar Akmal walked in next and tried to increase the run rate along with his skipper. Their 69-run stand for the 4th wicket was an important one as they looked set for a 200 plus total. Akmal (33) was clean bowled by Sean Williams. Birthday boy Shahid Afridi could not contribute with the bat as he was castled by Williams in the same over.
Wahab Riaz powers Pakistan to 235:
Shoaib Maqsood (21) was dismissed in the second batting powerplay, leaving Pakistan at 155/6 in the 39th over. Then came bowling all-rounder Wahab Riaz who scored a quickfire 54 off 46 balls to steer Pakistan to a respectable 235/7. Misbah scored a patient knock of 73 from 121 balls and once again played the anchor role to perfection.
Mohammad Irfan strikes early to push Zimbabwe on the backfoot:
The key to defending small totals is getting early wickets and Mohammad Irfan did just that for his team. The tall pacer picked the wickets of Chamu Chibhabha (9) and Sikandar Raza (8) and put his team in command. Both the batsmen were caught at 2nd slip by Haris Sohail.
The experienced duo of Hamilton Masakadza and Brendan Taylor put together 52 runs for the third wicket and put Zimbabwe in a comfortable position. Just when the partnership was looking dangerous, Misbah completed a brilliant catch to dismiss Masakadza (29) off Irfan’s bowling. Taylor was then joined by all-rounder Sean Williams and they tried to take on the Pakistani fielding unit with some risky running between the wickets. During the course of this partnership, Taylor got to his fifty but was dismissed soon after by Wahab Riaz.
Wahab Riaz snatches victory for Pakistan:
Sean Williams could not carry the Zimbabwe innings till the end as he was dismissed for 33. Wahab Riaz got into the act as he picked a couple of quick wickets. Skipper Elton Chigumbura (35) continued fighting at the other end but some quality death bowling by Riaz, Afridi and Irfan denied Zimbabwe a victory. Pakistan won the match by 20 runs and Wahab Riaz was adjudged the man of the match for his unbeaten 54 and his bowling figures of 4-45. He was well assisted by Mohammad Irfan, who also picked up 4 wickets.
Pakistan 235/7 (Misbah-ul-Haq 73, Wahab Riaz 54*, Tendai Chatara 3-35) beat Zimbabwe 215 all-out (Brendan Taylor 50, Elton Chigumbura 35, Mohammad Irfan 4-30, Wahab Riaz 4-45) by 20 runs