Openers power Pakistan to series win
Pakistan 228 for 0 (Hafeez 139*, Farhat 75*) beat Zimbabwe 225 for 6 (Masakadza 68, Tanvir 2-33) by 10 wickets
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Pakistan strolled to victory with no trouble at all, chasing a below-par score on a batsman-friendly pitch in Harare. They won the three-match series in comprehensive style as Mohammad Hafeez scored his third ODI century and Imran Farhat came good as well, in the second match after making his comeback. The pair put on 228, Pakistan's highest opening partnership, to ensure an emphatic win.
It was a tough day for Zimbabwe's bowlers, who failed to threaten and were unable to stem the run-flow. By contrast, Pakistan's attack restricted Zimbabwe after Brendan Taylor mistakenly put his side in to bat. Taylor actually wanted to bowl, but asked to bat instead, and when he asked if he could reverse his decision, he was denied permission to do so.
With some assistance on offer for the seamers, Pakistan's left-arm pair of Sohail Tanvir and Junaid Khan gave little away. Tanvir extracted movement early on and both bowled around the off stump to deny Zimbabwe easy runs. Their opening pair, Chamu Chibhabha and Vusi Sibanda, gave in to frustration. Chibhabha was caught at mid-off while trying to go over the top and Sibanda perished, for the sixth time in 11 innings this summer, to the pull.
Junaid continued to impress as his spell went on and caused problems with the short ball. After seven overs, he injured his ankle while racing to square leg to field off his own bowling and had to go off, but returned to complete his spell.
Spin was introduced from both ends after 20 overs and Zimbabwe eased into single scoring mode, with Hamilton Masakadza and Taylor putting on the team's best performance against Hafeez and Saeed Ajmal. Zimbabwe scored 52 runs in 10 overs with the bulk of them coming in singles. Masakadza played responsibly, spotting the gaps and doing most of the calling.
Cheema returned to try and break what was becoming a sizeable partnership but he did not succeed, though he kept the runs down. Masakadza brought up his half- century with a small nudge to fine leg and Taylor reached the milestone with a quick couple in the same area. They had crafted the platform to launch from, but neither were able to.
Taylor was caught at third man after upper-cutting a short and wide delivery, and Masakadza was run out by a direct throw from Misbah-ul-Haq, after he had started the acceleration with Tatenda Taibu at the other end. With the energy Taibu brought to the crease, Masakadza was encouraged to take on the bowling and smashed the biggest shot of the match, a six that landed in the rugby field.
Taibu swept confidently and was the most at ease with the attack, but could not provide the required impetus. Tanvir bowled him and it was up to Elton Chigumbura to finish strongly but it was a tough ask. Only at the end did Chigumbura launch and Zimbabwe finished with a 14-run over.
Zimbabwe's bowlers were always going to struggle to defend 225. Chris Mpofu and Brian Vitori were able to keep Pakistan to 36 in the first ten overs. The change bowlers, however, were ineffective and expensive, and Pakistan were running away with the chase at 70 without loss after 15 overs.
Ray Price tried his best to contain, but had no support from the other end. Hafeez played aggressively, the pull shot serving him well, while Farhat accumulated. The pair had to take few risks as they were rarely put under any sort of pressure.
Hafeez's century came with a slog-sweep for six. He then tore into Vitori, smacking him for three fours in his eighth over. Hafeez, fittingly, finished the match off with a trademark pull behind square to win the series for Pakistan.
Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent