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The Bulletin by Faras Ghani in Karachi
January 21, 2008
Pakistan eased to a 104-run victory over Zimbabwe in Karachi in the first of a five-ODI series. Powered by a world-record five half centuries, Pakistan, who were put in by Prosper Utseya, rattled up 347 for 5 and then Zimbabwe, after a promising start, fell away as the pressure mounted. Nasir Jamshed hit an attacking 61 on debut and Shoaib Malik, Pakistan's captain, picked up three wickets to go with his 63.
Jamshed, 18, displayed confidence and promise far beyond his age and match experience. Taking on the bowlers from the start, his impeccable timing, especially though extra cover, had the bowlers and fielders looking bewildered. Although shouldering the blame for Salman Butt's run out, he more than made up for it with the bat.
Christopher Mpofu suffered the brunt of Jamshed's onslaught, with 21 coming off his first two overs. A driven six over extra cover brought up his fifty off 40 balls, and he then pulled the erratic Chamu Chibhabha over midwicket for another six.
There was no respite for the bowlers even when Jamshed miscued Chibhabha to mid-off, as Younis Khan and Mohammad Yousuf put on 113 for the third wicket in less than 16 overs. Both placed the ball well, stretching the field with their good running and while Utseya rotated the bowlers, he was unable to stem the runs. Younis was especially severe on Utseya, twice sweeping him for leg-side sixes. The shot cost him his wicket as he tried to get after Ray Price, but Pakistan's middle-order did not let up against the tiring Zimbabweans. Ninety runs came from the final ten overs, with Yousuf, Shoaib Malik and and Misbah-ul-Haq completing half-centuries.
Defending a formidable total, Pakistan looked complacent in the field and left-armers Sohail Tanvir and Samiullah Khan - making his ODI debut - posed Zimbabwe's openers few concerns. It took a stunning one-handed effort by Kamran Akmal to get rid of Hamilton Masakadza, but Vusi Sibanda was in no mood to get bogged down. He dispatched Samiullah over square-leg for four before driving him square of the wicket and down the ground to maintain a healthy run rate.
Briefly, Zimbabwe threatened to take the match to the wire, but soon after reaching his 51-ball fifty, Sibanda, spurred on by two consecutive straight fours, drove loosely to Younis at mid-on.
The introduction spin in the form of Shahid Afridi and Malik ended Zimbabwe's fading hopes. Afridi picked up Tatenda Taibu in his first over, and the pair not only restricted the scoring, but also picked up wickets regularly. Chibhabha and Sean Williams scored valuable half-centuries - taking the match aggregate to a world record eight - but by then Zimbabwe had decided on practice rather than chasing victory.
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