RAWALPINDI: Zimbabwe scored a consolation victory against Pakistan in dramatic circumstances after the third and final One-day International ended in a tie at the Pindi Cricket Stadium here on Tuesday.
Chasing 279, Pakistan captain Babar Azam led a gallant recovery with a sublime century — run-a-ball 125 — after the hosts had slumped to 88-5 in the 18th over. In the end, tail-ender Mohammad Musa Khan struck a last-ball boundary off Richard Ngarava to level the scores at 278-9 after 50 overs.
As per the rules for the One-day World Super League — the qualifying competition for the 50-over World Cup in 2023 to be staged in India — the match went into the Super Over to determine the eventual winners. And since Pakistan batted second in the actual match, they had to take first turn at the crease but their short stay lasted just four deliveries as both Iftikhar Ahmed (0) and Khushdil Shah (1) got out to Blessing Muzarabani in the space of four deliveries.
Brendan Taylor (1) and Sikandar Raza (2) knocked the runs in three balls off Shaheen Shah Afridi to help Zimbabwe open their account with 10 points. Pakistan, who had already clinched the three-match series with back-to-back victories in the opening two fixtures at the same venue, have bagged 20 points.
Hosts claim ODI series 2-1
Sean Williams had been the star for the visitors after they chose to bat first as the 34-year-old hit an unbeaten 118, while coming to the rescue after the top-order batting was blown away by 20-year-old fast bowler Mohammad Hasnain.
Playing his first game of the series, Hasnain sent back Zimbabwe skipper Chamu Chibhabha (0), Craig Ervine (3) and Brian Chari (0) in his first spell. Brendan Taylor, who carried on his good form in the series, hit up 56 — with his 68-ball innings including eight boundaries — as he and Williams stitched together a partnership of 84.
At this point, Hasnain returned to pick up his fourth wicket by forcing Taylor to drive into the lap of Khushdil at short cover but Williams, who survived three chances, and Wesley Madhevere (33) lifted the total to 181 before the deserving Hasnain struck again to complete his maiden five-wicket haul in six One-day Internationals, by holding a return catch.
Hasnain, whose best ODI figures were 2-52 against Australia at Abu Dhabi in 2019, might had a sixth wicket if Musa had not fumbled a dolly catch at third man when Williams sliced the ball behind square. But Williams survived to complete his fourth one-day ton and stayed until the end of the innings to make 118 from 135 balls while striking 13 fours and one six.
Sikandar Raza, the Sialkot-born all-rounder, also made an invaluable contribution to boost Zimbabwe’s final total with a quick 45 with his 36-ball effort laced with four fours and a six. Sikandar and Williams — who pit 94 for the sixth wicket — accelerated superbly in the final overs as 46 runs were scored from the last five as Zimbabwe reached 278-6.
Hasnain was easily Pakistan’s best bowler on view with 5-26 in 10 overs. While Shaheen remained without a wicket for the second game running (0-42), Musa, Wahab and Iftikhar conceded 205 runs in their combined 30 overs.
Pakistan’s response to the chase was almost a repeat of the Zimbabwe start as Imam-ul-Haq (4), Fakhar Zaman (2) and Haider Ali (13) departed inside the first four overs. Imam was cleaned up by man-of-the-match Muzarabani, Fakhar — making his first appearance of the series — and Haider were both trapped in front by Richard Ngarava.
Mohammad Rizwan failed for the third time on the trot as he and Iftikhar were bowled by Donald Tiripano for 10 and 18, respectively to leave Pakistan in real strife at 88-5 in the 18th over.
The left-handed Khushdil made a promising debut in the 50-over international format when Pakistan needed someone to give Babar support that was glaringly missing in the early part of the innings. Khushdil was shaping up well while striking four boundaries in making a 48-ball 33. Chibhabha then made an inspiring change in the bowling by bringing on Muzarabani, who had Khushdil caught behind by Taylor to end the 63-run partnership.
Zimbabwe were firm favourites to clinch a conclusive victory when Khushdil was dismissed but Wahab then came in to play one of his best knocks. Handy with the bat in the lower order, Wahab went on to register his second half-century in One-day Internationals — both against Zimbabwe — in the 100-run stand with the well-set Babar.
Pakistan needed 28 from remaining 20 balls when Babar and Wahab were batting but Zimbabwe were back in business when Muzarabani lured Wahab (52 off 56 balls, three sixes and three fours) to attempt a big hit, which was held in the deep by Williams.
Sikandar then plucked a brilliant catch on the dive to get rid of Shaheen to give Muzarabani his fourth wicket of the match.
Babar, who had already brought up his 12th hundred in 77 ODIs, was the Pakistan’s last hope for a clean sweep in the series. But the 26-year-old right perished when he edged Muzarabani to Taylor after striking 13 fours and three sixes.
Muzarabani finished with 5-49 — his maiden five-for in 21 One-day Internationals — to claim the man-of-the-match award, while Babar had to console himself with the man-of-the-series prize.
“I am sad that I couldn’t finish the game after establishing a [century] partnership with Wahab, but we have learnt a lot from this defeat,” Babar said.
An elated Williams late said: “This win is huge for us. A lot of people do panic under pressure, but I feel we deserved to win we are tired of getting beaten, it is way too long.”
The teams now prepare for T20 action in Rawalpindi with the first two fixtures scheduled for Saturday and Sunday and the last game next Tuesday.
B.B. Chari b Hasnain 9
C.J. Chibhabha c Iftikhar b Hasnain 0
C.R. Ervine c Rizwan b Hasnain 1
B.R.M. Taylor c Khushdil b Hasnain 56
S.C. Williams not out 118
W. Madhevere c and b Hasnain 33
Sikandar Raza b Wahab 45
D.T. Tiripano not out 1
EXTRAS (LB-5, W-9, NB-1) 15
TOTAL (for six wkts, 50 overs) 278
FALL OF WKTS: 1-0, 2-4, 3-22, 4-106, 5-181, 6-277.
DID NOT BAT: T.S. Chisoro, R. Ngarava, B. Muzarabani.
BOWLING: Shaheen Shah Afridi 10-1-42-0 (3w); Mohammad Hasnain 10-3-26-5 (1w); Mohammad Musa Khan 10-0-80-0 (2w); Wahab Riaz 10-0-65-1 (1nb, 2w); Iftikhar Ahmed 10-0-60-0.
Imam-ul-Haq b Muzarabani 4
Fakhar Zaman lbw b Ngarava 2
Babar Azam c Taylor b Muzarabani 125
Haider Ali lbw b Ngarava 13
Mohammad Rizwan b Tiripano 10
Iftikhar Ahmed b Tiripano 18
Khushdil Shah c Taylor b Muzarabani 33
Wahab Riaz c Williams b Muzarabani 52
Shaheen Shah Afridi c Sikandar b Muzarabani 2
Mohammad Musa Khan not out 9
Mohammad Hasnain not out 3
EXTRAS (LB-1, W-5, NB-1) 7
TOTAL (for nine wkts, 50 overs) 278
FALL OF WKTS: 1-4, 2-6, 3-20, 4-51, 5-88, 6-151, 7-251, 8-266, 9-266.
BOWLING: Muzarabani 10-1-49-5 (3w); Ngarava 9-0-62-2; Chisoro 7-0-48-0; Tiripano 7-0-39-2 (2w); Sikandar Raza 10-0-42-0 (1nb); Williams 7-0-37-0.
RESULT: Match tied — Zimbabwe won in one-over eliminator; Pakistan win three-match series 2-1.
UMPIRES: Aleem Dar (Pakistan) and Rashid Riaz (Pakistan).
TV UMPIRE: Ahsan Raza (Pakistan).
MATCH REFEREE: Mohammad Javed Malik (Pakistan).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Blessing Muzarabani.
MAN-OF-THE-SERIES: Babar Azam.
FIRST MATCH: Rawalpindi, Pakistan won by 26 runs.
SECOND MATCH: Rawalpindi, Pakistan won by six wickets.
Published in Dawn, November 4th, 2020