With the T20I series levelled at 1-1, Pakistan played the deciding match against Zimbabwe on Sunday at the Harare Sports Club.
After a crushing blow in the second T20I, Pakistan made two changes to their squad by adding Sharjeel Khan and Sarfaraz Ahmed in place of Danish Aziz and Arshad Iqbal.
Opting to bat first, the ‘Men in Green’ lost an early wicket in the form of Sharjeel (18 off 15). Taking lessons from the previous match, Pakistan knew that they had to keep wickets in hand and build an imperishable partnership. While the next batter Babar Azam, took the task of anchoring the innings, Mohammad Rizwan pulverized Zimbabwe’s bowling from the other end.
Pakistan were 161 for 1 until the last over, and it was Azam (52), looking to accelerate, threw his wicket off a Luke Jongwe delivery. On the other hand, Rizwan smoked a 60-ball 91 laced with five fours and three sixes that helped the visitors pile up 165/3 on the board in their stipulated overs.
Jongwe was the only Zimbabwean bowler who could bag wickets, finishing with figures of 3 for 37 in his four overs.
In response, Zimbabwe, too, lost an early wicket in the form of their opener Tarisai Musakanda, who departed at a paltry score of 10.
Coming into bat at No.3 Tadiwanashe Marumani (35) and opener Wesley Madhevere (59) build a sturdy partnership of 65 runs for the second wicket. But coupled with an ever-increasing required run-rate, the hosts had no option left but to slog the ball.
The match that had been poised till the 14th over in no time shifted abruptly in Pakistan’s favour. The right arm-pacer Muhammad Hasnain bowled a back off a length delivery to Marumani, who looking for a pull misjudged the bounce and under-edged the ball in to his wickets.
Under the pump, Madhevere, too, top-edged a fuller delivery from Hasan Ali and the white leather landed in wicket-keeper Sarfaraz Ahmed’s hands safely.
Pakistan then capitalized the opportunity by picking up wickets at regular intervals and barraged Zimbabwe’s batters. With the hosts needing 31 runs off the last over, the match was a mere formality.
Sean Williams & Co. finished with 141/7 in their 20 overs, thus losing the contest by 24 runs. With four wickets, Hasan was the pick of the bowlers for Pakistan and was, therefore, awarded the ‘Player of the Match’.