Captain Shoaib Malik had a brilliant all-around display Monday to lead Pakistan to a 104-run victory over Zimbabwe in the first limited-overs international. Zimbabwe made a promising start to Pakistan's imposing total of 347-5, but was eventually restricted to 243-7 with Malik's offspinners running through the middle order to take 3-34 to go along with his 63.
"It was not easy to chase 347 and once we put the total on board, we knew it will be difficult for Zimbabwe," Malik said. Vusi Sibanda top-scored for Zimbabwe with 59, while Chamu Chibhabha made 52 and Sean Williams hit 51 not out in a match that had a world-record eight half centuries in a limited-overs game. Sibanda hit 11 boundaries in 54 balls against Pakistan's inexperienced trio of medium-fast bowlers before Rao Iftikhar had the opener caught at mid-on.
Chibhabha was bowled by a faster legspinner from Shahid Afridi, who took 2-33.
Malik took the wickets of Brendon Taylor (2), Stuart Matsikenyeri (3) and Elton Chigumbura (15) in his unchanged 10-over spell. Earlier, 18-year-old opener Nasir Jamshed scored 61 off 48 balls on debut. He hit six boundaries and three massive sixes, including two big straights hits off medium-fast bowler Elton Chigumbura. Jamshed, who made his mark in a tour match against Zimbabwe last week when he scored 182 for a Patron's XI, was out in the 15th over when he holed out at long-off off a mistimed shot. "I was disappointed to miss on an opportunity of scoring a century in my debut match," Jamshed said.
Middle-order batsmen Younis Khan (79), Mohammad Yousuf (72), Malik and Misbahul Haq (55 not out) capitalized on the bright start as Zimbabwe used seven bowlers with little success. The 11th-ranked Zimbabwe never looked likely to threaten Pakistan's strong batting lineup after captain Prosper Utseya won the toss and elected to bowl first.
"We were unfamiliar to the conditions so that's why we decided to chase," Utseya said. "Had we restricted them to less than 300, it could have been interesting."
Khan and Yousuf added 113 runs off 99 balls before both fell attempting big hits. Khan hit seven fours and a six in 68 balls before Hamilton Masakadza took a well-judged catch off a slog sweep at long-leg.
Malik and Misbah then shared 99-run stand before the Pakistan captain was out in the penultimate over of the innings. Misbah completed his 50 in the last over and faced 38 balls. Left-arm spinner Ray Price took the wickets of Khan and Yousuf to finish with 2-61, while Chibhabha had the next best figures of 2-78. Utseya was hammered for 46 off his five wicketless overs, while Chris Mpofu had 0-72 off 10 overs.
The second match in the five-game series is at Hyderabad on Thursday.