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    Pakistan Wins Toss, Bats In 1st ODI Against Zimbabwe

    Zimbabwe's skipper Chamu Chibhabha, in red, and his Pakistani counterpart Babar Azam, left, walk back after the toss for their 1st one-day international cricket match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

    Zimbabwe's skipper Chamu Chibhabha, in red, and his Pakistani counterpart Babar Azam, left, walk back after the toss for their 1st one-day international cricket match at the Pindi Cricket Stadium, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Friday, Oct. 30, 2020. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. (AP Photo/Anjum Naveed)

    Pakistan captain Babar Azam won the toss and elected to bat Friday in the seriesopening oneday international against Zimbabwe at the Pindi Cricket Stadium.

    RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Pakistan overcame Brendan Taylors century thanks to fast bowler Shaheen Afridis 5-49 to beat Zimbabwe by 26 runs in the first one-day international on Friday.

    Taylors 112 off 117 balls his 11th ODI hundred ended up in a losing cause as Zimbabwe was bowled out for 255 in 49.4 overs.

    Afridi was well supported by Wahab Riaz, who claimed 4-41.

    In Pakistans first home international with no spectators because of COVID-19 restrictions at Pindi Cricket Stadium, left-handed batsmen Haris Sohail (71) and Imam-ul-Haq (58) propped up their teams total of 281-8.

    The three-match ODI series is part of the new World Cup Super League. Seven of the 13 teams in the league will directly qualify for the 2023 Cricket World Cup in India.

    Taylor kept Zimbabwe in the hunt by hitting 11 fours and three sixes until Afridi returned in the 47th over and had him caught at mid-off. Zimbabwe lost its last five wickets for only 15 runs in the space of 18 balls.

    Pakistans bowlers’ skill level at the death made it difficult for us,” Taylor said.

    On being named player of the match, he added, I feel very lucky to get this man of the match award as I feel Shaheen should have got it. Youre up against a very skillful attack at the death and they were too good at the end.”

    Taylor and Wesley Madhevere (55) shared a 119-run, fifth-wicket stand that put Zimbabwes chase back on track after Afridi and Riaz reduced Zimbabwe to 115-4 in the 27th over.

    But once Riaz broke the partnership by clean bowling Madhevere, Afridi followed up with the key dismissal of Taylor and swung the game back in Pakistan’s favor.

    He (Taylor) played an outstanding innings, but I had confidence in Shaheen Afridi and Wahab Riaz, Babar Azam said after winning his first ODI as Pakistan captain. Once Shaheen had Taylors wicket, I was sure we are going to win the game.

    Earlier, Zimbabwe’s players didnt show any rustiness despite this being their first international match since March as they tied down Pakistans much-fancied stroke-players.

    Left-arm spinner Tendai Chisoro (2-31) and fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani (2-39), who is making a comeback after two years out, were the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers. Muzarabani got Babar caught behind on 19.

    Imam survived a television referral for lbw on 11 and went on to hit six fours. However, soon after completing his half-century he fell to a bizarre run out when he and Sohail ended up at the strikers end.

    Sohail departed in the 42nd over after hitting six fours and two sixes when offspinner Sikander Raza had him caught behind. Sohail didnt return to the field during Zimbabwes chase.

    Pakistan made 90 runs in the last 10 overs to post a competitive total.

    ___

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