Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Harare August 29, 2013

Hafeez helps Pakistan draw level


Pakistan 299 for 4 (Hafeez 136*, Amin 59) beat Zimbabwe 209 (Taylor 79, Waller 40, Junaid 4-15) by 90 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

With the series at stake, Pakistan hit back strongly by posting a total well beyond Zimbabwe's reach, thereby giving the final match greater context. Mohammad Hafeez led the way with an attacking, unbeaten 136 to lift Pakistan to 299, and although Zimbabwe had their moments in the chase, they failed to stretch Pakistan over a sustained period. A clump of wickets towards the end widened the gap between the two sides, as the margin of victory suggested.

Both sides, while batting, were removed from their comfort zones. Pakistan didn't have the safety net of a steady Misbah-ul-Haq innings for the other batsmen to bat around. A rare failure from Misbah gave Hafeez the chance to step up and guide the innings. Zimbabwe, for a change didn't have the luxury of a solid opening stand in the face of a daunting total, and the middle order couldn't cover the slack. Pakistan, though, responded better to the challenge.

Put in to bat, Pakistan had a better idea of the kind the score needed to intimidate a confident Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe were guilty of dropping catches in the first ODI but those let-offs, fortunately, didn't cost them in the end. While they were relatively better today, one lapse cost them plenty of runs. When on 30, Hafeez went for the slog sweep but as the ball dipped towards deep square leg, Brian Vitori was a touch too late on the dive. He couldn't hang on and Zimbabwe were made to rue the missed chance.

Hafeez's driving, flicking and defense against the seamers was solid and he used his feet against Prosper Utseya, lofting two sixes over long-on. He launched Elton Chigumbura over the same region as he progressed to his fifty off 65 balls. Following Misbah's departure - he limped to 3 off 23 balls - Pakistan had lost all their experienced batsmen, but Umar Amin stepped up to give Hafeez the support he needed. Amin looked busy at the crease, trying to push the singles and attempting the odd slog, looking on nervously at his senior partner who urged him to play straighter.

Amin opened up at the start of the batting Powerplay, taken in the 36th over, clipping Utseya wide of midwicket and then launching him over cover the next ball. He found the gaps with ease through the off side and reached his maiden fifty in ODIs off just 61 balls. Pakistan smashed 43 in the Powerplay without losing a wicket, setting the platform for their late-innings acceleration.

Amin was eventually run-out from a direct hit by Tendai Chatara, but not before adding a valuable 129 with Hafeez. Hafeez made sure his side didn't lose the initiative, like they did on Tuesday with a collapse, batting positively and finding the gaps. He had all but bettered his highest ODI score (139*), made on the same ground two years ago. A blazing cameo from Shahid Afridi took Pakistan to the doorstep of 300.

Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda had, until this game, produced opening stands of 53, 50 and 107 so it was a relief for Pakistan that the openers disbanded early in the third over. Masakadza found early momentum with some powerful boundaries off Mohammad Irfan before he was beaten for pace by Junaid Khan, losing his off stump. Much depended on Brendan Taylor to lead the way. He and Sean Williams weren't afraid to take on the spinners, reverse sweeping them regularly. They targeted Pakistan's main bowler, Saeed Ajmal, in his first over, playing the conventional and reverse sweeps to give the chase some momentum.

Taylor kept Zimbabwe's hopes alive with a positive fifty - his first in 13 innings - and it got to the stage where Pakistan were in need of a breakthrough. Ajmal provided that when he beat an advancing Williams, getting him stumped. Taylor had added 70 with Williams and 65 with Malcolm Waller, but all along they failed to keep with the rising asking rate.

The slide started towards the end of the batting Powerplay - taken after 35 overs - when Taylor top-edged a sweep off Ajmal, only to be caught one-handed by the 7ft 1" Irfan. Any other fielder, it would have been a boundary. Zimbabwe lost three wickets for one run, as Junaid ran through the lower order. Zimbabwe were rolled over with more than seven overs to spare. The lack of a match-turning partnership hurt them in the end.

*1651 GMT, August 29: The article had said "Pakistan lost three wickets for one run, as Junaid ran through the lower order". This has been corrected.

Kanishkaa Balachandran is a senior sub-editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Mohammad on August 30, 2013, 20:46 GMT

    First time in this year,Pakistan won the match without Misbah's help.If we look at the past,we will find Misbah scoring fifties regularly and winning matches.Misbah you are a real player of this team,no one can be as consistent as you.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 13:29 GMT

    @Vaseem Siddiqui - Why Azhar Ali, Umar Amin and Nasir Jamshed given the chance to groom - why not Asad Shafiq, Fawad Alam ........ were not given the chance to groom

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 11:04 GMT

    Hafeez is good for nothing. He plays well against the teams like Ireland, Zimbabwe and Bangladesh. Got a century here and now this is enough for the rest of the year. He will not score more than 100 in all the year now

  • ZCF on August 30, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    I really don't know what to say about this game. Been struggling to get my head around how it gradually unfolded! It was expected that Pakistan would come back stronger & Misbah was due a failure, both of which happened. Hafeez should have been caught off Utseya, which would've left an easy 260 target but lazy Vitori did not oblige.

    Contrary to stats&Junaid Khan's gods smiling on him - only Irfan improved&Ajmal was casually more effective, but other than them the attack posed little threat. It did not seem to me that Pakistan could defend 300 runs against us. However, Vusi, Hami, Taylor, Williams&Malcolm all threw it all away. Stupid dismissals! Vusi didn't even waste time pretending to be up for it, but why did they all even flatter to deceive! All they had to do was finish the job and the series was there for Zim's taking! Even the umpire pretty much chipped in gifting Chigumbura's wicket since everyone was being generous!

    The result does not tell the real story. Something's amiss!

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 8:57 GMT

    Against Zimbabwe both seniors Hafeez and Afridi performed well. What was pleasing was Afridi batted sensibly, he did not try to slog from the first ball he faced. However, both Hafeez and Afridi can only perform on an inconsistent basis and are weak against quality side. I therefore would be hesitant in playing both of them in ODI XI. My side would be: 1. Jamshed, 2. Shehzad (give him time), Azhar Ali (VC), 4. Umar Akmal, 5. Misbah (C), 6. Hafeez / Afridi, 7. Kamran (W/K), 8. Gul, 9. Wahab / Irfan, 10, Ajmal, 11. Junaid. Azhar must be groomed as a future captain of both Test and ODI teams. He should also be encouraged to bowl. There are also other young promising players and their opportunity will come once players like Misbah, Hafeez, Afridi, Ajmal, Kamran and Gul call it a day or dropped from the team for lack of performance. No ones position in the team is permanent and if better players come along than they should play.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 8:08 GMT

    It came as no surprise that Hafeez made runs against Zimbabwe, he is an expert at scoring runs against minnows or on dead wickets. I would like to know what his average against good bowling sides such as South Africa, England, Australia and to lesser extend against West Indies and Newzealand. One of the main reason TEAM PAKISTAN did poorly in Champions Trophy was the inability of Hafeez to score runs at the top of the order against top quality bowling sides. However, I am glad youngsters like Junid Jamshed, Shehzad Ahmed and Umar Amin are being given opportunities to play for Pakistan. The other thing I cannot understand is why TEAM PAKISTAN are only playing with two fast bowlers in the side? The balance of the bowling attack does not look right and again what is the point of playing so many spinners and not giving opportunities to the young and promising fast bowlers in the squad?

  • Android on August 30, 2013, 7:25 GMT

    Let me sum up: Miabah 3 off 23. Afridi 39 off 23. R.I.P.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 6:33 GMT

    @ESPNCRICINFO , nowadays in mactch report, your writer don't mention record which are created in match, for example which record is created and whichmis borken , please give statistics about century, fifty, partnership individual record..............

  • Imran on August 30, 2013, 6:24 GMT

    well played by hafeez no doubt but Misbah id good captain for pakistan.Unluckely he can't perform in second ODI.but his consistency in batting is useful for pakistan.

  • Dummy4 on August 30, 2013, 5:51 GMT

    people speak about hafez will be better captain than misbah. true. but his failed batting again better teams is bcoz he is nt captain secondarily n primarily due to new swinging balls in initial overs. misbah wont be able to score half of hafiz runs at no 3 when openers usual out situation.hafiz shows footwork,counter attacks opponents but new ball dissmisses good batsmen as well.so he should rotate strike to survive on fast pitiches ,green pitches n wc aussi pitches firstly then can be unbeatable.