With an intention of clean sweeping the visitors, Pakistan was up against Zimbabwe in the final game of the three-match ODI series at the Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium. The hosts were soaring with confidence after winning two consecutive games by 26 runs and 6 wickets respectively.
The match saw a brilliant effort by both the teams as Babar Azam and Sean Williams smashed a ton each. However, the game was truly owned by Zimbabwe’s Blessing Muzarabani and Pakistan’s Mohamma Hasnain as both the bowlers took a five-wicket haul.
Winning the toss, Pakistan were sent to field first. The opening woes continued for Zimbabwe as the captain Chamu Chibhabha bagged a duck while Brian Chari and Craig Ervine lost their wickets after scoring 9 and 1 runs respectively. Mohammad Hasnain went all guns blazing against the feeble top-order as he picked all the three wickets.
Just like the previous two fixtures, the pressure of building partnerships fell on the shoulders of the experienced duo of Brendan Taylor and Sean Williams. This time it was the latter who anchored the innings for Zimbabwe with his scintillating century. Williams smashed an unbeaten 118 in 135 deliveries including 13 fours and 1 six. He was well supported by Taylor who made an impressive fifty (56 off 68) to provide some stability to the team.
As the two batsmen collected a 84-run stand, it was again Hasnain who did the job for his team by taking the crucial wicket of Taylor. Wesley Madhevere and Sikandar Raza also played important cameos for Zimbabwe at the fag end of the innings by scoring 33 and 45 runs respectively. Thus, the Men in Green managed to put up a pleasant total of 278 on the board in their 50 overs.
In this high-scoring fixture, the right-arm fast-medium pacer Hasnain was the lone warrior with the ball as he recorded his maiden five-wicket haul in One Day Internationals. He finished with an impressive stats of 10-3-26-5.
Blessing Muzarabani shines with the ball
In response, Pakistan also had a horrible start as their in-form opening duo of Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman were back to the pavilion within two overs. However, skipper Babar Azam, who had found his form in the previous game with a stunning half-century, took the opposition bowlers on remand once again. The right-hander stamped his authority as he smashed a stunning century (125 off 125 deliveries).
This looked like an easy victory for the hosts but they kept losing wickets at the other end. However, Wahab Riaz batted well to smash a half-century but lost his wicket with Pakistan needing 24 in the last three overs. The pacer Blessing Muzarabani was the best bowler for Zimbabwe as he destroyed the opposition’s middle-order and took his maiden five-wicket haul to initiate a turnaround for his team.
His heroics with the ball (10-1-49-5) helped Zimbabwe take the match into the Super Over. Rather it took a misfield from Tendai Chisoro for the game to tie.
Zimbabwe’s brilliance in the Super Over
Batting first in the Super Over, Pakistan made a shocking decision of sending Khushdil Shah and Iftikhar Ahmed instead of the in-form captain while Blessing was on duty with the ball for Zimbabwe. The Super Over was completely owned by Muzarabani as he took the wickets of both the batsmen and gave just 2 runs.
Chasing 3 runs was never a tough task for Zimbabwe. Surprisingly, the ball was in hands of Shaheen Afridi instead of the hero-of-the-day, Mohammad Hasnain. However, the bowler didn’t have much to do as with a boundary by Sikandar Raza, the visitors finished the game to register a consolation win and open their account in the World Cup Super League.