Pakistan upstaged a laborious century from Brendan Taylor to defeat Zimbabwe by 26 runs in their first ODI in Rawalpindi on Friday.
Half centuries from Haris Sohail and opener Imam-Ul-Haq steered Pakistan to an imposing 281-8 in 50 overs. Taylor, who came out of retirement to play for Zimbabwe, kept Zimbabwe in the game with two crucial partnerships but they went on to lose last six wickets for just 21 runs to get dismissed for 255 in 49.4.
Taylor added 71 runs for the third wicket with Craig Ervine (44) before two quick wickets reduced Zimbabwe to 115-4. The Taylore recovery resumed after he and Wesley Madhevere got involved in a century stand only to see a terrible collapse.
Needing 48 runs from the last five overs, Zimbabwe caved in under pressure once Wahab Riaz bowled Madhevere. Taylor went six runs later and Riaz struck again with the crucial wicket of allrounder Sikandar Raza to virtually end Zimbabwe challenge.
Taylor made his 11th international century scoring 112 from 117 balls with 11 fours and three sixes. Madhevere’s 61-ball 55 included seven hits to the fence. Taylore went on to take man-of-the-match for his valiant innings.
Shaheen Shah Afridi took 5-49 from 10 overs and Riaz took 4-41 from 9.4.
Earlier, Sohail provided the much-needed impetus to Pakistan innings with a gritty 82-ball 71 that included six fours and two sixes. Imam scored 58 from 75 with six boundaries and Imad Wasim chipped in 34 off 26 with two sixes and a four.
Blessing Muzarabani and Tendai Chisoro took two wickets each for Zimbabwe.