Zim rolled over

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ZIMBABWE – The highly-anticipated One Day International (ODI) series decider between Zimbabwe and Pakistan produced a one-sided encounter as the touring side comfortably strolled to a seven wicket victory to win the three match series at Harare Sports Club yesterday. 

After being set a target of 162 Pakistan, who also won the Twenty20 series 2-0, did not need to get into second gear, as they comfortably cruised to the target for the loss of just three wickets with 96 balls to spare to seal a 2-1 ODI series victory.

Pakistan were simply too good for a Zimbabwe side that had flattered to deceive by winning the second ODI, only to surrender meekly when it mattered most in front of an expectant crowd.

Earlier the tourists had won the toss and elected to field and with the hosts laying a solid foundation, after their brave performance during the second ODI only two days earlier, a closely fought series decider seemed well and truly on the cards.

The brave decision by the Zimbabwe selectors to drop Hamilton Masakadza, temporarly seemed to have paid off, as the opening combination of Richmond Mutumbami and Chamu Chibhabha put on a partnership of 89 runs for the first wicket.

However, no one would have imagined what was to come after a batting collapse saw the hosts bundled out well before lunch for a paltry 161 runs in 38, 5 overs.

The dismissal of Chibhabha, two runs shy of his half century in the 21st over, proved to be the turning point of the match, as Zimbabwe went on to lose their next nine wickets for 72 runs.

Even with a long batting line-up, which stretched down to Luke Jongwe at number nine, Zimbabwe simply had no response to the Pakistan’s spinners, who had not been expected to make an impact on what seemed like a good batting track.

Off spinner Bilal Asif, finished with brilliant figures of five wickets for 25 runs from his 10 overs, while left arm spinner Imad Wasim took three wickets for 36 runs from eight overs.

Mutumbami, who top scored with 67 runs off 85 balls watched in horror as wickets continued to tumble around him until he was caught behind going for a pull on short a short-pitched Muhammad Irfan delivery.

Opening the batting for the first time in an ODI, Mutumbami, was dropped by Wahab Riaz in the 16th over and took advantage of the lifeline, although he received a knock on his helmet during the course.

He seemed to recover well, playing a superb innings, which included five fours and two sixes, although he gave up the wicket keeping duties to Brian Chari, after the changeover.

With a measly target on the scoreboard, Zimbabwe desperately needed early wickets against a Pakistan top order, which had struggled throughout the ODI series. They, however, wasted a glorious chance to strike an early blow when John Nyumbu, at slip, failed to hold on to an edge by Asif off the bowling of Jongwe in the second over.

Although Zimbabwe went on to to claim three wickets, it was just a matter of when and not if Pakistan would win the match.

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura, who could not follow up his match-winning performance on Sunday, said they had paid dearly for their failures with the bat.

“Obviously, the two games we didn’t have enough with the bat, we lost,” he said during the post-match interview.

“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.”

Zimbabwe will have less than a week to regroup before they play Ireland in three ODIs and a four-day match in the capital starting on Friday.

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