Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 1st ODI, Harare October 1, 2015

Yasir six-for leads Pakistan to 131-run win

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Pakistan 259 for 6 (Rizwan 75*, Wasim 61) beat Zimbabwe 128 (Yasir 6-26) by 131 runs
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Pakistan spin trio clean up Zimbabwe

Pakistan cruised to a 131-run win over Zimbabwe in the first one-day international at Harare Sports Club, the match following what has become a familiar script during this tour. Pakistan's lower middle order rallied their side to a good score, and their spin attack, led by Yasir Shah's 6 for 26, then systematically dismantled Zimbabwe's line-up. Yasir's haul was the second best by a Pakistan spinner, and the best ever by a spinner in Zimbabwe.

Asked to bat first, Pakistan's top order stumbled against a spirited Zimbabwean bowling effort before Mohammad Rizwan's career-best 75 not out and Imad Wasim's 61, which was his maiden international fifty, boosted the visitors to a challenging 259 for 6. Rizwan and Wasim had added 124 for the sixth wicket, but no Zimbabwean partnership came close to matching them as the hosts crumbled under sustained pressure.

Once again, the batsmen struggled to rotate the strike and then inevitably offered Pakistan chances as they sought to ease the pressure with a big shot. The 35-run stand between Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza was the most substantial of the innings, and legspinner Yasir collected his first five-for in ODIs with Zimbabwe having no answer to his combination of turn, bounce and guile.

Pakistan had been reduced to a wobbly 35 for 3 in the morning as Zimbabwe's new-ball bowlers found seam and swing on a slightly resher wicket before Sarfraz Ahmed and Shoaib Malik combined to take the score to 100. When they were both dismissed attempting to attack spin Zimbabwe surged once again, but Rizwan and Wasim weathered their best efforts.

Rizwan marshalled Pakistan's effort from the halfway mark of their innings, starting watchfully against Zimbabwe's spinners before he broke free with what was perhaps the shot of the day; a checked loft off offspinner John Nyumbu that soared over long on. With Nyumbu, Graeme Cremer and Sean Williams all included in Zimbabwe's XI, Rizwan faced spin for much of his innings. He certainly showed that he had the aptitude to counter these bowlers in helpful conditions, milking the gaps and finding the boundary with a sweep off Cremer and a deft late cut off Nyumbu.

A particular feature of Rizwan's stand with Wasim was their running between the wickets: something which had been highlighted as an area of concern for both teams after the Twenty20s. Eight twos came off Rizwan's bat during their stand, while Wasim added seven. This ensured that the score kept ticking over even when boundaries were not forthcoming, and set the platform for Pakistan's charge at the death.

Pakistan added 88 runs in the last ten overs as the big hits became more frequent, with Rizwan bringing up a 61-ball fifty in the 46th over. Wasim brought up a maiden international fifty of his own two overs later, reaching the mark with a superb reverse sweep off Tinashe Panyangara. Wasim had been given a life thanks to Williams' drop at long-on earlier in the over, and there was a ragged edge to Zimbabwe's effort at the death. Tempers also flared in Panyangara's final over, from which Pakistan plundered 22 runs, as the bowler took offence to what he saw as Rizwan's intentional obstruction of his fielding efforts. The batsman stood his ground as Sikandar Raza played peacemaker, and closed the innings on an emphatic note with his second six, straight over the bowler's head.

Pakistan carried that bellicose attitude into the field, and both Zimbabwean openers were given a thorough working over with the new ball. Yet all 10 wickets fell to spin. Chamu Chibhabha averages 19.72 in matches in which he has been dismissed by a left-arm spinner, and has collected more ducks against this type of bowler than any other - three. He had opened his account by the time Wasim was brought on in the ninth over, but then fell immediately, trapped in front by the left-arm spinner's first ball.

Yasir then took centre stage, nipping one through the yawning gap between debutant Brian Chari's bat and pad and skittling Hamilton Masakadza with a ball that kept a touch low and rushed on. Raza and Elton Chigumbura fell on the drive, failing to cover Yasir's prodigious spin, while Richmond Mutumbami's dismissal came via a stunning reflex catch, low to the ground, by Hafeez at slip. When Panyangara gloved one to slip Yasir had his sixth, and Zimbabwe had crashed from 101 for 4 to 128 all out.

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2015, 5:12 GMT

    And those people who are asking to include umer akmal and others who are praising sohaib maqssod just look at their averages in world cup. Were they able to do finishers role in any single match? And besides dirty politics of akmal brothers and dropping catches of kohli and others cannot be ignored. It is wise decision to limit him to T20.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2015, 2:36 GMT

    Ahmed shehzad seriously needs to perform he needs to take some responsibility . Azhar ali needs to stay patient not always look for a single, when the ball is not even out of the 30 yard circle. This is like the 3rd time he got out in this fashion ever since he was appointed captain. Pakistani batsman really need to take responsibility. Imad and Rizwan are not going to save them every match. Really need to step up the game those top 3 batsman. It doesn't matter what the pitch was like. Just learn from imad and rizwan how they managed to hold the innings and rotate the strike, which is a huge problem for the openers.

  • Dummy4 on October 3, 2015, 2:33 GMT

    I dont know why fans are so angry at hafeez. Come on he was leading run scorer in lanka series and man of the series. He scored 2 test centuries and 96 against kiwis double hundred in bangladesh. I know he is not very good but who is competing him as batsman at no 3 in odi? Yonis khan? He was woeful recently at no 3 might do better at no4. Asad shafiq?sohaib maqsood? Check their averages they cant even score a single century in odi. Haris sohail? Yes haris might be better but he is Injured. So come over it and keep at least his recent success in mind

  • irfan on October 2, 2015, 10:23 GMT

    people just keep critisizing pakistan batting but never notice they keep winning matches all of u guys remember our land produce more world class bowlers than any other country weather its spinner or fast bowlers even australia hv produced v few good bowlers like lilly mcgath n warne but pakistan just keep producing one after another.. plz publish

  • VIJAY on October 2, 2015, 5:37 GMT

    @Sammy...the top notch team lost against our Ranaji Champions inside 3 days...just a few series win in home cant make any team as Mini Australia or world beaters...and we have seen how the top team performed when they came outside the comfort zone

  • rawaat6 on October 2, 2015, 3:30 GMT

    Past failures of pak odi team is not pcb's fault. Its the fans. They have no idea about the conditions. It was a strict bowling pitch, and 259 was a very respectable total. Why do you guys want maqsood back, he failed horribly when he got his chance. He deserved to sit out. And Haris is not in the team because its the right time to try out some new players. Azhar is improving. You cant expect him to be perfect from day 1. Aamer Yamin cant be waqar younis from day 1. Pak fans keep crying. Stop hating and start supporting.

  • Afseer Malik on October 2, 2015, 3:20 GMT

    Most of the people commenting here did not watch the game just looked score on cricinfo.

  • irfan on October 2, 2015, 3:19 GMT

    no cricket in pakistan but still can produce yasir shah imad rizwan sarfaraz just wondering once start cricket in pakistan how many talented players will come unlike so called giant india play at home play with all super stars in ipl bt still can't win away

  • irfan on October 2, 2015, 3:15 GMT

    i will advise if any batsman out of foam just play against india as we knw their bowlimg

  • Dummy4 on October 2, 2015, 2:05 GMT

    Hi M Rizwaan look good rest of Pakistan team is not good

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