Pakistan hold nerve in tense finish against Zimbabwe in 1st ODI
Pakistan defended a modest total on a flat and dry pitch in Bulawayo, in a match that simmered softly for 90 overs, before bubbling into life in the last ten. Zimbabwe were kept to well below the required run-rate for a majority of their innings, but had wickets in hand for an onslaught at the end. However, Junaid Khan, Pakistan’s most-expensive bowler, produced a gem of a last over, bowling five low full tosses to win the match for his team.
Despite being well set up by Vusi Sibanda’s 73 and anchored by Brendan Taylor’s 84, Zimbabwe made heavy weather of their chase. Pakistan’s spinners, Saeed Ajmal and Mohammad Hafeez, were difficult to get away, while ODI debutant Aizaz Cheema and comeback-man Sohail Tanvir also did their bit to keep the run flow in check.
Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq each scored a half-century to contribute the bulk of Pakistan’s below-par score and Zimbabwe’s bowlers appeared to have made their batsmen’s task easier. But, Pakistan’s experience trumped Zimbabwe’s gutsy showing as the hosts left themselves too much to do in the second half of their innings.
Zimbabwe faced an interesting challenge up front as Pakistan used two left-arm seamers to open the bowling. They had to contend with the unusual action of Sohail Tanvir at one end and the more conventional Junaid Khan at the other. Chamu Chibhabha was puzzled by the angle and was bowled by Tanvir in the third over.
Junaid was easier to deal with and Sibanda played two successive pull shots off him, showing off his signature stroke, but playing it with more discrimination in this innings. Saeed Ajmal was introduced in the eighth over and immediately looked dangerous when he had a confident lbw shout against Sibanda. However, it was his fellow spinner, Mohammad Hafeez, who took the second wicket when Hamilton Masakadza tried to play square of the wicket and was hit in front of middle stump.
Sibanda and Taylor built a strong partnership, characterised by patience; they showed reservation when rotating the strike which may have ultimately cost Zimbabwe the game. Sibanda was set to convert his half-century into a bigger score but was out after an inside-edge popped up off his pad and Cheema caught it in his follow-through.
Cheema, who made an impression with eight wickets in the Test match, bowled impressive slower balls and was rewarded when Tatenda Taibu top-edged him to mid-on. Taylor also perished to the top edge, after taking Zimbabwe to the brink and left it to big-hitting Elton Chigumbura to finish things off. Chigumbura couldn’t cap off his superb bowling performance by also hitting the winning runs.
Chigumbura and Hamilton Masakadza had reined in Pakistan after 20 overs of aggressive batting, in which Chris Mpofu and Greg Lamb took a pasting. After Imran Farhat was dismissed early, Younis took control, hitting Mpofu for five boundaries in his first five overs.
Mohammad Hafeez was unable to play his natural game and was tied down by a good opening spell from Ray Price, who constantly angled the ball into the pads. Prosper Utseya, who came on first change, bore the full brunt of Hafeez’s frustration, conceding a smashed six over long-off and a lofted drive for four. Utseya had the last laugh, though. Hafeez was unable to keep the sweep down and Sibanda at square leg took the catch.
Misbah and Younis then threatened to take the game away from Zimbabwe but Taylor was ahead of the game and brought on Chigumbura and Masakadza, and spread the field. Younis was run out and the third comeback-man, Shoaib Malik, also failed, when he was caught by a diving Taibu down the leg side. It was an unexpected, but deserved reward for Chigumbura, who had bowled a good length throughout.
Pakistan’s scoring-rate hit a plateau, dipping under five an over, and, in the 37th, Misbah attempted to accelerate with a slog-sweep for six and a cut past point for four off Masakadza. As the pressure mounted, Misbah tried something different and went for the reverse-sweep, but was trapped lbw by Price as he jumped across his crease.
Lamb was more effective in his second spell and helped Utseya keep the run flow down. When Mpofu returned in the 45th over, Umar had little choice but to take him on and pulled the first ball, a short and inviting one, straight to Utseya at midwicket. Pakistan waited as long as they could to take the Powerplay, at the start of the 46th over, and were only able to get three boundaries during it.
Butcher says slow scoring hurt Zimbabwe
Alan Butcher, the Zimbabwe coach, has said the crucial phase in his side’s loss to Pakistan in the first ODI in Bulawayo was the one between the 10th and 20th overs of the chase, during which Zimbabwe scored only 30 runs. Zimbabwe were chasing 248 and got off to a solid start; but though they had lost only two wickets by the end of 20 overs, the asking-rate had already risen to 5.90 an over and kept climbing.
“The turning point was the period between 10 and 20 overs of our chase, when we only scored 30 runs,” Butcher said. “We probably gave Mohammad Hafeez too much respect. One more run an over in that period and we’d have won before the last over.” Hafeez conceded just 38 runs in his 10 overs, bowled in one spell.
With the asking-rate climbing, Tatenda Taibu and Brendan Taylor tried to score at a quicker pace, but Zimbabwe waited till the 43rd over, by which time Taibu had been dismissed, to take the batting Powerplay. They took 38 runs off it and Butcher said he was happy with their timing of it. “When Taylor and Taibu were batting together there were still a lot of overs to go. While they were there we felt we were well in touch. We were happy with when we took the Powerplay.”
Though Zimbabwe fell five runs short in the chase, Butcher said there had been an improvement in their batting. “If you look back six months at the World Cup, we were struggling to get past 180 against Full Member nations [their highest score against a Full Member was 188 versus Sri Lanka]. To get 240 is progress and we’re learning how to do it against the big teams
“We need to tweak a couple of things but we had two good innings today – a 70 [from Vusi Sibanda] and an 80 [from Taylor]. Vusi was a bit unlucky with the way he got out. If he had carried on it would have made a difference. He played a responsible knock.”
Butcher said there were plenty of positives to take out of the game. “We did well to restrict them to less than 250 because at one stage, when Misbah-ul-haq and Younis [Khan] were in, it looked like 270 was going to be the target. When you get that close, you’re always disappointed to lose, but we can definitely take positives as there were some high-quality performances from our players.”
Zimbabwe went in to the game with a different combination from the one that had beaten Bangladesh 3-2 in the ODI series in August, playing just one specialist seamer to accommodate three spinners and a longer batting line-up. Butcher said the decision was made based on the reputation the Bulawayo pitch has as a spinning surface. “I think the decision was justified when you look at the score we restricted them to. The wicket played better than we thought it would; it did not spin as much as we expected and had a little more pace. Having a longer batting line-up is something we’ve been talking about for a while.”
Brian Vitori, who started his ODI career by taking two five-wicket hauls in his first two games, against Bangladesh, was left out of the XI and Butcher said it was a tactical decision. He did, however, suggest Vitori could play a role when the action shifts to Harare for the second and third ODIs, and the two Twenty20s.
“Different conditions in Harare may make us think of a different attack. Vitori’s omission today was tactical but I’m sure he will play a role in Harare. We hope he plays a similar role to the one he played against Bangladesh, taking wickets up front. Pakistan have a more solid batting line-up, so it is hard to expect him to have the same impact. Against better opposition he may have to work harder.”
Pakistan 247/7 (50 ov)
Zimbabwe 242/7 (50.0 ov)
Pakistan won by 5 runs
- Pakistan in Zimbabwe ODI Series – 1st ODI
- ODI no. 3188 | 2011 season
- Played at Queens Sports Club, Bulawayo
- 8 September 2011 (50-over match)
|Pakistan innings (50 overs maximum)||R||M||B||4s||6s||SR|
|Mohammad Hafeez||c Sibanda b Utseya||26||55||49||2||1||53.06|
|Imran Farhat||c †Taibu b Mpofu||0||8||2||0||0||0.00|
|Younis Khan||run out (Waller/†Taibu)||78||86||72||9||0||108.33|
|Misbah-ul-Haq*||lbw b Price||54||96||64||3||1||84.37|
|Shoaib Malik||c †Taibu b Chigumbura||2||12||5||0||0||40.00|
|Umar Akmal||c Utseya b Mpofu||36||65||59||2||0||61.01|
|Adnan Akmal†||c Mpofu b Price||27||42||32||2||0||84.37|
|Sohail Tanvir||not out||17||26||16||0||1||106.25|
|Saeed Ajmal||not out||1||2||1||0||0||100.00|
|Extras||(lb 1, w 5)||6|
|Total||(7 wickets; 50 overs; 198 mins)||247||(4.94 runs per over)|
|Did not bat Junaid Khan, Aizaz Cheema|
|Fall of wickets1-1 (Imran Farhat, 2.1 ov), 2-74 (Mohammad Hafeez, 14.4 ov), 3-126 (Younis Khan, 24.4 ov), 4-129 (Shoaib Malik, 25.5 ov), 5-189 (Misbah-ul-Haq, 39.3 ov), 6-209 (Umar Akmal, 44.1 ov), 7-245 (Adnan Akmal, 49.4 ov)|
|Zimbabwe innings (target: 248 runs from 50 overs)||R||M||B||4s||6s||SR|
|V Sibanda||c & b Aizaz Cheema||73||117||89||6||2||82.02|
|CJ Chibhabha||b Sohail Tanvir||1||10||7||0||0||14.28|
|H Masakadza||lbw b Mohammad Hafeez||15||49||27||2||0||55.55|
|BRM Taylor*||c Sohail Tanvir b Aizaz Cheema||84||159||103||7||0||81.55|
|T Taibu†||c Younis Khan b Aizaz Cheema||26||57||43||0||1||60.46|
|MN Waller||c Shoaib Malik b Saeed Ajmal||10||16||7||2||0||142.85|
|E Chigumbura||run out (Umar Akmal/†Adnan Akmal)||24||35||23||2||0||104.34|
|GA Lamb||not out||1||9||1||0||0||100.00|
|P Utseya||not out||1||1||1||0||0||100.00|
|Extras||(lb 1, w 5, nb 1)||7|
|Total||(7 wickets; 50 overs; 230 mins)||242||(4.84 runs per over)|
|Did not bat RW Price, CB Mpofu|
|Fall of wickets1-5 (Chibhabha, 2.3 ov), 2-53 (Masakadza, 13.1 ov), 3-114 (Sibanda, 26.3 ov), 4-174 (Taibu, 40.3 ov), 5-196 (Waller, 43.2 ov), 6-233 (Taylor, 48.4 ov), 7-241 (Chigumbura, 49.5 ov)|
|Sohail Tanvir||10||1||47||1||4.70||(1nb, 2w)|
|Toss Pakistan, who chose to bat
Series Pakistan led the 3-match series 1-0
|ODI debuts Adnan Akmal and Aizaz Cheema (Pakistan)
Player of the match Younis Khan (Pakistan)
|Umpires O Chirombe and IJ Gould (England)
TV umpire TJ Matibiri
Match referee DC Boon (Australia)
Reserve umpire LA Ngwenya