Pakistan Beat Zimbabwe 5/0 in ODI Series

Pakistan vs Zimbabwe ODI Series 2018

1st ODI, Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Pakistan 308 for 7 (Imam 128, Fakhar 60, Chatara 2-49) beat Zimbabwe 107 full scale (Murray 32*, Shadab 4-32, Faheem 2-14) by 201 runs

Pakistan romped to victory against Zimbabwe in the first ODI at Queen’s Sports Club, Bulawayo, pummelling the hosts by 201 runs. It was their first win of the year, but on the evidence of the gulf in ability between these two sides, it appears inevitable they will add four more in the next ten days or so.

A career-best 128 from opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq helped Pakistan amass 308. It was plenty against the beleaguered Zimbabweans, who didn’t at any point look like either keeping in touch with the run rate or knitting together a partnership.

2nd ODI, Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Pakistan 195 for 1 (Zaman 117*, Imam 44) beat Zimbabwe 194 (Masakadza 59, Moor 50, Usman 4-36) by nine wickets

It might be possible Pakistan don’t even remember playing this game, so perfunctory was their nine-wicket win. Had their minds been completely preoccupied by other concerns – the upcoming Asia Cup, the series against Australia and New Zealand after that, or where they were going to go on holiday – the result of this game was never going to be any different. They bowled brilliantly, batted superbly, but in truth, never got out of second gear. Simply because they didn’t need to.

Fakhar Zaman will have tougher times getting off the mark in some games than he did in coasting, waltzing, sleepwalking to a hundred today. Imam-ul-Haq, for want of something else to do, decided to hang around and give him company; after all, the sun was out and it was a cold day, so why not spend some time in the middle? Babar Azam, who came in after Imam was run out (there was no way in the world Zimbabwe were getting a wicket any other way) looked as good as new since coming back from his arm fracture. In truth, he could have played with that arm in a sling and still stayed around to knock off the winning runs. It took Pakistan just over 35 overs to chase the sub-200 total Zimbabwe had set them in a performance every bit as dominant as the 201-run win on Friday.

3rd ODI: Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Pakistan 69 for 1 (Fakhar 43*, Muzarabani 1-43) beat Zimbabwe 67 hard and fast (Chibhabha 16, Faheem 5-22, Junaid Khan 2-7) by nine wickets

A hapless Zimbabwe side ran into red-hot Pakistan in the third ODI in Bulawayo, turning in a performance that made the first two games look like heroic over-achievement.

Batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan effectively killed off the contest in the first hour, Zimbabwe slumping to 43 for 7 within 15 overs. Slight resistance by Wellington Masakadza at the end took them past 64 – the lowest total for which Pakistan has ever bowled out an international side – but only just.

As Faheem Ashraf’s yorker cannoned into Richard Ngarava’s off stump to give the allrounder his first five-wicket haul, Zimbabwe had been bowled out for 67, which Pakistan chased in just under 10 overs to wrap up their second consecutive nine-wicket win and a series win to boot.

With Mohammad Amir rested, Usman Khan was the de facto leader of the attack, and he began proceedings by removing Prince Masvaure off just his second delivery. This began the merry-go-round between the Zimbabwean pavilion and the crease.

Junaid Khan, who looked sharp despite not having played at this level for nearly a year, sent skipper Hamilton Masakadza and Tarisai Musakanda on their way. He managed to get good bounce from the surface, particularly for Musakanda’s wicket, lulling him into a hook as the ball rose on him far too sharply to control.

4th ODI: Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Pakistan 399 for 1 (Fakhar 210*, Imam 113, Asif Ali 50*) beat Zimbabwe 155 (Tiripano 44, Shadab 4-28) by 244 runs

Who knew there were so many layers to rock bottom? In every game this series, it has appeared it couldn’t get any worse for Zimbabwe, or easier for Pakistan. It seemed impossible there could be a nadir beyond what transpired in the third ODI, with Pakistan bowling Zimbabwe out for 67 and chasing it down in 9.5 overs. But the chasm grows wider by the game.

On Friday, after winning the toss and deciding to bat, Pakistan began to put statisticians around the world on notice. Pakistan plundered 399 – their highest ODI total – while Fakhar Zaman made a brutally destructive 210 not out off 156 balls as Pakistan pulverised Zimbabwe by 244 runs.

5th ODI: Pakistan vs Zimbabwe

Pakistan 364 for 4 (Imam 110, Babar 106*, Fakhar 85) beat Zimbabwe 233 for 4 (Murray 47, Moor 44, Nawaz 2-47) by 131 runs

This was, by far, the most competitive match of the series. Pakistan won it by 131 runs.

That these two statements stand together without contradiction is the best indicator of the manner in which it has gone. Utterly bereft of competitive edge or even the prospect of it, Pakistan have reigned supreme all series. Nothing that happened today changed that, except Zimbabwe seemed to accept the fact, and, having set a target of 365 on the back of tons from Babar Azam and Imam-ul-Haq, didn’t even bother chasing it. Instead, they used it as an opportunity to give themselves batting practice against one of the fiercest bowling line-ups in world cricket, and as they trudged to 233 for four by the end of their 50 overs, they could at least claim success on that front.

Hamilton Masakdza and Tinashe Kamunhukamwe began solidly, trying to play themselves into touch. While they got regular boundaries, they were never able to rotate the strike effectively, and the innings took on a pattern of block-or-bash. Indeed, throughout their innings, Zimbabwe struck more sixes than Pakistan (nine compared to six), which illustrated the point that there’s more to a huge chase than looking for release shots every other over.

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