Mohammad Rizwan (82*) and Usman Qadir (3/29) starred for Pakistan as the visitors recorded an 11-run victory against Zimbabwe in the first T20I at Harare Sports Club.
The home team won the toss and elected to field. Blessing Muzarabani (1/22) dismissed the opposition captain Babar Azam (2) cheaply, while Wesley Madhevere (2/11) picked up the wickets of Fakhar Zaman (13) and Mohammad Hafeez (5). Even though the visitors kept losing wickets at regular intervals, Mohammad Rizwan's unbeaten 61-ball 82* guided them to 149/7 in their 20 overs.
Chasing 150, Zimbabwe lost two wickets in the first three overs. Craig Ervine (34), Luke Jongwe (30*) and Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (29) then resurrected the Zimbabwe innings and pushed for a win. But Usman Qadir's three-wicket haul restricted them to 138/7 in 20 overs.
Brief Scores: Pakistan 149/7 (Mohammad Rizwan 82*, Danish Aziz 15; Wesley Madhevere 2/11, Luke Jongwe 2/24) beat Zimbabwe 138/7 (Craig Ervine 34, Luke Jongwe 30*; Usman Qadir 3/29, Mohammad Hasnain 2/27) by 11 runs.
Earlier, Pakistan could not get off to a good start in Harare after being put in to bat first. They lost Babar Azam, Fakhar Zaman and Mohammad Hafeez inside the first nine overs. Debutant Danish Aziz (15) and opening batsman Mohammad Rizwan then stitched a 34-run partnership for the fourth wicket.
Although Luke Jongwe (2/24) sent Aziz and Haider Ali (5) back to the pavilion in quick succession, Mohammad Rizwan did not back off. He ended his superb innings with ten fours and a six.
Pakistani bowlers made sure Mohammad Rizwan's knock did not go in vain
Despite Mohammad Rizwan's excellent knock, Pakistan could only set a 150-run target for the Zimbabwean team. A 56-run third-wicket partnership between Craig Ervine and Tinashe Kamunhukamwe took the home side close to the target.
The equation was 73 runs off 54 deliveries when Mohammad Hafeez got the wicket of Tinashe. Usman Qadir then ran through the Zimbabwean middle-order to set up his team's win. Luke Jongwe hit three fours and a six in his unbeaten 24-ball 30, but that was not enough to take Zimbabwe over the line.