LAHORE: Riding on skipper Azhar Ali’s second one-day ton, Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by six wickets to win their first ever ODI series in 17 months at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore.
In the process Azhar also became the first Pakistani captain to score an ODI century in a successful run-chase.
Chasing a target of 269, Pakistan had no trouble in reaching their target as they made 269 for six with 16 balls to spare.
Openers Azhar, who scored 102 off 104 with just eight boundaries, and Sarfaraz Ahmed, who made 22, provided a decent 124-run stand.
Mohammad Hafeez failed to make a significant contribution.He was dismissed on 15 as Pakistan were reduced to 68 for two.
The run-chase was given impetus by an 85-run association between Azhar and Asad but the latter failed to play a big innings as he gave away his wicket on 39. Azhar departed soon after and it was left to Shoaib Malik and Haris Sohail to seal the victory.
Haris remained unbeaten on 52 aided with six boundaries while Malik finished undefeated after a 36-run cameo studded with a six and four boundaries.
Graeme Cremer picked up two wickets in a losing cause.
Earlier, Zimbabwe had accumulated 268 for seven in their 50 overs as Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza struck a brilliant, unbeaten century – 84-ball 100 laced with three sixes and eight boundaries.
Chamu Chibhaba was unlucky to get out on 99 which came with help of 11 strikes to the fence.
Wahab Riaz and Yasir Shah bagged two wickets apiece.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2015.