Skipper Babar Azam once again led from the front leading Pakistan to an easy six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in their first Twenty20 International on Saturday.
Electing to bat first on a flat pitch in Rawalpindi, Wesley Madhevere did the bulk of scoring for Zimbabwe reaching a moderate 156-6 in 20 overs.
Babar, the No 3 ranked Twenty20 batsman who had also struck a century in the third one day international that Zimbabwe won in Super Over, led the chase with a gritty 82 as Pakistan replied with 157-3 in 18.5 overs.
Fakhar Zaman (19) and Babar began with a 36-run partnership for the first wicket. After Fakhar’s departure, Pakistan also lost Haider Ali (seven) before Babar and Mohammad Hafeez were involved in an 80-run match-winning partnership for the third wicket.
Pakistan lost both the set batsman in a space of 14 runs but by then the hosts had almost cruised to victory. Babar’s 55-run innings included nine fours and a six. Hafeez chipped in with a 32-ball 36 hitting three fours and a six. Blessing Muzarabani took two wickets for Zimbabwe.
Earlier, Zimbabwe’s total was built around Madhevere who remained unbeaten on a 48-ball 70 not out. He also hit nine fours and a six.
Opener Brendan Taylor (20), Sean Williams (25) and Elton Chigumbura (21) were other notable scorers for the visitors. Haris Rauf and Wahab Riaz took two wickets each for Zimbabwe.