Pakistan celebrate their win over Zimbabwe in the first ODI. (Photo | Twitter | ICC)
BULAWAYO: Pakistan stormed to a 201-run win over Zimbabwe in Bulawayo on Friday in the opening game of their five-match one-day series.
Career-best efforts from opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq and leg-spinner Shadab Khan ensured that Pakistan kept control through both innings.
Opener Imam cracked 128 runs as Pakistan made 308 for 7.
Khan then made short work of Zimbabwe's lower order to collect 4 for 32 as the hosts were bowled out in the 35th over for 107.
Imam was backed up by Fakhar Zaman, who continued his good form with 60, and Asif Ali, who smashed a rapid 46 on debut to boost Pakistan’s total after they had been put in to bat under grey, wintery skies this morning.
Pakistan started slowly with the bat. With the new ball nipping around Imam played and missed at several deliveries and was lucky to survive an edge off fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani, the ball dropping just in front of second slip.
But Imam gritted his way through the difficult patch, and, with Fakhar scoring fluently, Pakistan put on an opening stand of 113 in under 25 overs.
Fakhar brought up his fourth fifty of Pakistan's tour but then hit a return catch to debutant offspinner Liam Roche. Imam then shifted through the gears to bring up a 109-ball hundred in the 37th over.
Zimbabwe's bowlers struck back at the death with Tendai Chatara and Donald Tiripano picking up two apiece, as Pakistan lost five wickets in the last 10 overs.
The host were unable to sustain the battle with their bats. Pakistan's seamers were disciplined with the new ball, and were rewarded with five top-order wickets inside the first 15 overs.
Ryan Murray, on debut, was the only Zimbabwean batsman to come to terms with Pakistan's attack, compiling a tidy unbeaten 32, to help ensure Zimbabwe would at least pass 100, but with Khan running through the lower order with four wickets the hosts still slumped to the lowest ODI total recorded at the Queens Sports Club
The teams face each other again in the second match of the series at the same ground on Sunday.