Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st T20, Harare August 23, 2013

Shehzad, spinners sink Zimbabwe


Pakistan 161 for 5 ( Shehzad 70, Afridi 23*) beat Zimbabwe 136 for 5 (Taylor 32*, Afridi 3-25) by 25 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Zimbabwe had their moments where they stretched Pakistan with a confident start in their chase of 162, but tackling the spinners in the middle overs was always going to be the bigger proposition. Pakistan's spin trio - led by Shahid Afridi - put the stranglehold on the scoring with regular wickets and the hosts found the target rapidly slipping away from them. Once the required rate neared an improbable 12, the final passage of play turned tepid.

In both innings, Pakistan found the going tough in the first half of the innings but clawed back in the second. Ahmed Shehzad weathered a sluggish start with a solid half-century that set the base for Shahid Afridi to play his natural game and push Pakistan to a competitive score. The Pakistan seamers struggled to contain the openers, but following a few quiet overs of spin, the momentum shifted. Brendan Taylor was looking to play himself into some form, after a poor series against India, and he didn't have the time or an attacking partner at the other end to help his side reclaim the edge.

After being put in to bat, Pakistan lost their first three wickets inside nine overs, all off questionable shots. Tendai Chatara accounted for the first two, and his second wicket to get rid of Mohammed Hafeez was made possible thanks to a brilliant reflex catch by Taylor. That catch was a good example of Zimbabwe's fielding in the early part of Pakistan's innings, but they couldn't put enough pressure on Pakistan in the second half.

Pakistan progressed to a less-than-satisfactory 57 for 3 after ten overs, but the turning point in the innings came in the 12th over. It was Elton Chigumbura's first and he leaked 17, which included a pulled six by the debutant Sohaib Maqsood and two swept boundaries by Shehzad past short fine leg. Pakistan ensured they maintained that momentum till the end of the innings, picking 75 runs off six beginning from the 12th.

Maqsood looked promising in a stand of 55 with Shehzad, pouncing on anything short from the seamers. After pulling Chigumbura over deep square leg, he tried to clear the straight boundary the following ball but was done in by an impressive running catch by Vusi Sibanda.

Shehzad's knock was vital in giving Pakistan a base to build on, which was crucial given the under par scores from the rest of the top order. He managed only one boundary in the first ten overs and began to open up in the company of the confident Maqsood. He was caught on the edge of the long-on boundary for 70, attempting a second six. Afridi, sent in at No.6, made a cameo 23 to give the bowlers a solid score to defend.

Sibanda and Hamilton Masakadza helped Zimbabwe race to 35 off five overs - at the same stage Pakistan had already lost two wickets. Taylor said at the toss that Zimbabwe were more comfortable chasing, and the openers certainly gave the impression. Sibanda didn't look too troubled by Mohammad Irfan's pace and lift, improvising by arching his back to steer the ball wide of the fielders on the off side.

Saeed Ajmal was brought on in the sixth over as damage control. Captain Hafeez reverted to his seamers and Anwar Ali struck in the first over of his second spell when he trapped Hamilton Masakadza lbw attempting to pull a ball that wasn't short enough. A set Sibanda lost his leg stump to Afridi, staying back to a flat, quicker delivery. Sean Williams was trapped lbw on the sweep, but didn't appear satisfied with the decision.

What Taylor needed was a form partner and the team management probably erred by not promoting Elton Chigumbura. Chigumbura performed better than some of the specialists in the one-dayers against India and when he walked in today Zimbabwe needed in excess of 17 an over. Timycen Maruma, who came in ahead of him, faced 13 balls for ten runs, at a time when Zimbabwe were desperate for a massive surge. The spinners held sway and the margin of victory was a comfortable 25 runs.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Android on August 24, 2013, 9:58 GMT

    happy to see Pakistan win.Looking forward to good performance from Nasir Jamshed

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2013, 8:50 GMT

    good performance from afridi and ahmed. afridi is contributing more regularly now. which is good sign. Maqsood looked good. should be included in ODis.

    Time is running out for hafeez. he needs to perform and better to play down the order. some how if they can get in haris sohail then that would be better.

  • Tim on August 24, 2013, 8:26 GMT

    You've got to hand it to the Zimbabwe cricket development. Despite political turmoil and a small population they've managed to produce a number of international class players in the last few years. Their problem of course is that almost all of them are playing county cricket not international cricket. Their team is a farce right now through little fault of their own. Yes they are broke so can't give players the incomes to match county contracts, but they can't make more money without their star players playing. Need to allow Kolpak players to play internationals or we risk losing a test nation. Saving Zimbabwe cricket needs to be a priority of the ICC.

  • Muhammad Waqar on August 24, 2013, 8:07 GMT

    zulfiqar baber and Harris sohail must in for saeed ajmal and nasir jamshed. just two changes pak need for their new look team

  • Julian on August 24, 2013, 7:58 GMT


    the only conspiracy is the fact Maruma is in the team in front of Raza a T20 specialist and batting above Chigs and Waller in a T20 the guy can barely hold a bat let alone score at the required run rate in a T20

  • Dummy4 on August 24, 2013, 7:50 GMT

    Nasir jamshed destroy their talent why he scared..its strike rate is awsome then why he block the balls,, someone tell him..please david watmore polish this talent more and more,,

  • Faizan on August 24, 2013, 4:57 GMT

    I am Pakistani but would love to see Zimbabwe win at least 1 match out of the 7 to be played. They have been through tough times like Pakistan and deserve a win to bring a smile on the faces of their fans and for the motivation of their players. On the contrary, Sohaib Maqsood indeed looked confident and on the short pitched deliveries he picked the length really early (like Inzi) to hit them for sixes. His style and batting stance looks a bit like Inzi's and a bit like Pietersen's. I would like to see Ajmal being rested for the entire tour and Zulfiqar Babar being given the hold of spinning department.

  • jhg on August 24, 2013, 4:47 GMT

    Sohaib Maqsood is the new Sehwag and Inzi.....he should be in the one dayers, but Misbah doesnt want youngsters in the side.

  • A B M Badiuzzaman on August 24, 2013, 3:44 GMT

    Afridi should be maid captain and he should have given a higher rank in batting order. Although I'm happy the Pak win, but its not enough impressive.

  • Zain on August 24, 2013, 3:36 GMT

    I think Pakistan has too much quality against Zimbabwae and if they loose it is just because of a light competition. Pakistan performs good against quality teams and their performance go bad against lighter opposition. But still Hafiz has to prove his batting place in the team. He is fast becoming an unreliable batsman and he probably could not find a place in any top six sides. Nasir has got batting talent but his weaknesses are too many and he is proving to be a very slow learner.

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