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Pakistan break ODI jinx, beat Zimbabwe by six wickets

Pakistan break ODI jinx, beat Zimbabwe by six wickets

Pakistan broke its One-Day Internationals jinx as it beat Zimbabwe by six wickets in the second match at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.

With the victory, Pakistan has taken a decisive 2-0 lead over Zimbabwe. This was Pakistan’s first ODI series win since December 2013.

It was captain Azhar Ali’s knock of 102 runs off 104 balls that turned the tables for the Greenshirts. Coming out to bat as an opener, it was an innings of patience and perfect execution of strokes.

Azhar did not only play a vital role in steering Pakistan towards victory but also made his partners on the other end realise the importance of rotating the strike.

When the pair of Azhar and Sarfraz Ahmed came out to open the innings for Pakistan, the scoreboard showed a competitive target of 269 to be chased down.

Pakistan has always been even more unpredictable when it comes to batting second.

But the opening duo did a fine job in establishing a 46-run stand. Sarfraz was the first to be dismissed. In an attempt to sweep Chuma Chibhabha, the batsman misjudged the length and was caught leg before. He departed at 22.

Azhar stood strong, but Mohammad Hafeez could not accompany his captain for much longer. The partnership lasted just 22 runs when Hafeez trying to clear the long off boundary found Charles Coventry taking a marvelous catch on the run. He was dismissed on 15.

Asad Shafiq was the next man in.

It was the Azhar-Asad partnership that put Pakistan on the path to victory. Both the batsmen put up an 85-run stand for the third wicket, before Asad came down the wicket, tried to reach the pitch of the delivery but closed his bat a little too early. A leading outside edge was there for the taking and Sikandar Raza made no mistakes at short extra cover.

As the match progressed, Haris Sohail and Azhar established a 56-run stand for the fourth wicket. But this time, it was the captain who played a loose shot — but in view of an overall brilliant knock, he should be cut some slack.

Later, it was a fast-paced innings by Shoaib Malik and Haris, who added an unbeaten 60 runs together, taking Pakistan home. Shoaib was unbeaten on 36, and Haris Sohail remained not out on 53.

Earlier in the first innings, Sialkot-born Sikandar Raza fought valiantly and scored his second ODI century to help Zimbabwe post a competitive 268.

Chuma Chibhabha, who came to bat at number two, played a solid innings of 99 runs — becoming the only Zimbabwean to have been dismissed one run short of a hundred. Chibhabha tried to sweep Shoaib Malik but got a top edge straight into the gloves of Sarfraz Ahmed behind the stumps.

Rest of the Zimbabwean batsmen failed to make any impact, whereas Pakistani bowlers did a commendable job in restricting the African side on a flat Gaddafi Stadium wicket.

Man of the Match: Azhar Ali

Read: Pakistan v Zimbabwe 2nd ODI — As it happened

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