Ruthless Pakistan thrash winless Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's losing streak became 'unlucky' 13 as they predictably lost to Pakistan by a wide margin of 106 by runs in the Khaleej Times Trophy Sunday at the Sharjah Stadium.

The defeat virtually condemned Zimbabwe out of Sunday's final.

They will have to win their last two matches by massive margins, a big ask from a side which has neither bowling nor batting resources to achieve that impossible task.

A victory for Zimbabwe was never on cards after the African nation allowed Pakistan to an almost unbeatable total of 279 considering their batting limitations.

As it happened Zimbabwe were bowled out for 173 in 39.1 overs with only Andy Flower (51) and Stuart Carlisle showing resistance against a Pakistan attack that was nothing more than modest.

The early loss of the openers, Doug Marillier and Grant Flower, with just five runs on the board pushed Zimbabwe on the back foot.

Though the third wicket stand between Andy Flower and Carlisle raised hopes of a fight back but once the pair were separated by a needless run out of the latter it was all over bar shouting.

From 112 for three Zimbabwe plunged to nine for 146 with spinners Shoaib Malik and Shahid Afridi - later named Manof-the-Match - shared five wickets as Zimbabwe middle order caved in without fight.

Pakistan should have wrapped up the match much earlier if Abdur Razzaq had not dropped a regulation catch offered by Heath Streak and Rashid Latif missed a regulation stumping to remove Travis Friend.

Earlier, taking optimum advantage of a mediocre Zimbabwe attack Pakistan batsmen found some sort of form to post a healthy looking 279 for six after Waqar Younis again won the toss and decided to bat first.

A sparse crowd, not more than a few hundred, saw Shahid Afridi (67) and Saeed Anwar (64) put on 91 for the second wicket to lay the foundation of a huge total.

Shahid and Saeed having failed against Sri Lanka batted with confidence specially the former who clubbed five sixes and three fours in his 81-ball innings.

Saeed, who was more sedate, was bowled going for a big hit. He also hit a six and six fours and faced 80 deliveries. However, the real fireworks were provided by Abdur Razzaq and Wasim Akram in the slog overs.

Razzaq appeared on his way to getting the fastest 50 but was run out by a direct throw from Zimbabwe skipper Brian Murphy.

Razzaq had earlier struck the biggest six of the tournament, sending the ball soaring out of the ground and into the adjoining football field. His 46-ball gem contained two sixes and two fours.

Later Wasim, the former captain, struck out lustily in the final two overs to score a rapid unbeaten 22 off only 14 balls that contained two sixes and a one four.

Monday is a rest day with Sri Lanka slated to meet Zimbabwe Tuesday.