Qasim Akram stars as Pakistan Shaheens bounce back to beat Zimbabwe Select

Pakistan Shaheens’ hopes of winning the one-day series against Zimbabwe Select remain alive as Qasim Akram’s blistering fifty helped the tourists register five-run win, via DLS method, on Sunday in Harare. The hosts still lead the six-match series by 2-1.

Saim Ayub and Mohammad Hurraira took an aggressive approach when chasing a target of 279 runs. They scored numerous boundaries during the powerplay.

However, Zimbabwe’s Tendai Chatara, who had troubled the Pakistani openers in the previous two matches, once again provided a breakthrough. Saim was caught and bowled by Chatara, ending his innings at 27. Victor Nyauchi also dismissed Hurraira for 19, in the following over.

With Pakistan facing pressure once again, Omair Bin Yousuf and Haseebullah formed a partnership of 60 runs, effectively managing the required run-rate. Wellington Masakadza, known for his ability to take wickets in the middle overs, showcased his skills by breaking the partnership. He removed Yousuf from the crease after he had scored 29 runs.

Despite Yousuf’s departure, Haseebullah appeared to be on track to reach his fifty. However, Masakadza had different plans and captured his second wicket by having the left-handed batsman caught behind on 49.

It was an ideal situation for skipper Hussain Talat to step up and take responsibility. However, he could only manage 10 runs, before being dismissed by Chatara. Kamran Ghulam who started positively, also fell victim to Chatara shortly, as he was caught behind by Clive Madande for 27.

With Pakistan reeling at 169-6, Qasim Akram coming in at eight in the batting-order, provided much needed impetus and started putting the pressure back on Zimbabwe bowlers.

The all-rounder stitched a 67-run partnership with Mubasir Khan to take Pakistan close to the target. Wessly Madhevere struck gold when he removed Mubasir for 30, with the Shaheens still needing 43 runs to win.

Qasim continued to strive hard as wickets continued to fall at the other end. He brought up his fifty in just 31 balls to keep Pakistan on track for chase. The all-rounder finished with an unbeaten 57* from 40 balls, as bad light stopped play and Pakistan was at 263-8 in 46.5 overs at the point. The par score was 258 at 46.5 overs, so as Pakistan were five runs ahead of it, they were declared winners.

Earlier, after being asked to bat first, Sean Williams scored 78 runs to help Zimbabwe post a total of 278 runs, before they were bowled on the last ball of their innings.

Sean Williams blistering 59 balls innings, included six fours and three sixes.

Tadiwanashe Marumani (29), Wessly Madhevere (41) and Craig Ervine (29) also contributed with useful scores.

In the lower-order, skipper, Masakadza (18), wicketkeeper, Madande (22), and Faraz Akram (19*) also put up resistance to help Zimbabwe post a big total.

Among the Pakistani bowlers, Shahnawaz Dahani performed exceptionally well, taking four wickets for 43 runs in his 10 overs.

Aamer Jamal also managed to take three wickets, but he conceded 60 runs in his full quota of overs.

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