Pakistan Bags Series against Zimbabwe 2-1 with Bilal's Acme 5 Wicket Haul
HARARE: Pakistan beat Zimbabwe in the third and final ODI by seven wickets chasing 162 runs to bag the series 2-1 at Harare Sports Club on Monday.
A five-wicket haul from offspinner Bilal Asif, in just his second ODI, knocked the stuffing out of Zimbabwe's top order as the hosts were bowled out for 161 in the series decider at Harare Sports Club. After four wicketless overs Bilal struck repeatedly, helped by some very soft dismissals, to prompt an extraordinary collapse. Zimbabwe lost 10 for 72 to ruin what had been a solid start from their openers, Bilal finishing with 5 for 25.
Pakistan chased the meagre total comfortably for the loss of three wickets in 34 overs. Bilal and Asad Shafiq top-scored for Pakistan with 38 runs. Meanwhile, Shoaib Malik also made an important 34-run contribution and stayed unbeaten at the end of the match.
Tinashe Panyangara, Sean Williams and John Nyumbu bagged one wicket apiece for Zimbabwe.
Pakistan captain Azhar Ali: Had a little bit of an infection so had a rest. The wicket looked very good for batting and at one stage we were looking to keep them within 270, but Bilal Asif bowled exceptionally. Only his second game, but he bowled with great maturity. Before this series we had a plan that we wanted to test some new blood and it is a very good sign that they have performed and played with confidence. We have achieved our goals from this series.
Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura: The two games we didn’t have enough with the bat, we lost. Pakistan deserved to win, they played good cricket through the series. For us, it is something to learn and hopefully be more consistent with the bat. [Afghanistan and Ireland series?] Just have to up our game with the bat.
Man of the Series Shoaib Malik: So far so good [in 2015]. Trying my best and using my experience. First, I would like to thank Waqar Younis and Mushtaq Ahmed for bringing me in to the team. They gave me confidence and without my teammates support, I would not be able to put in these kinds of performances. I would like to wish the Test team all the best for England. I am not part of that team. I have high hopes for these guys, recently they have been playing really well in UAE and I am sure they will do us proud.”
Man of the Match Bilal Asif: It wasn’t easy. I just did the basics right. That’s why I was able to succeed. Thanks to all my support staff and my teammates. I am a professional, I have to do well in all kinds of pitches.
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