RAWALPINDI (AFP) — Pakistan proved too strong for a sloppy Zimbabwe as they won the second Twenty20 international cricket match by eight wickets in Rawalpindi yesterday, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Riding on half-centuries from skipper Babar Azam (51) and 20-year-old Haider Ali (66 not out), Pakistan made short work of a modest 135-run target, achieving victory with 29 balls to spare.
Zimbabwe, who were sent in to bat, never recovered from early strikes by paceman Haris Rauf (3-31) and spinner Usman Qadir (3-23) as they were restricted to 134-7 in 20 overs.
Haider, playing only his third international match, cracked three sixes and six boundaries in a 43-ball knock and was declared man of the match.
Azam, ranked second in the world T20 batting rankings, smashed eight fours and a six off just 28 balls, the fastest of his 16 T20 international fifties.
Haider and Azam added 100 for the second wicket, taking away the game from Zimbabwe despite losing opener Fakhar Zaman for just five in the third over.
Zimbabwe fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani took two wickets for 33 runs, including Azam.
Khushdil Shah cracked the winning boundary in his 11 not out.
The last match of the series is scheduled for today, also in Rawalpindi.
Earlier, Ryan Burl (32 not out) and Wesley Madhevere (24) were the main scorers for Zimbabwe, with Burl smashing the last ball of the innings for a big six.
Pakistan’s Rauf, who took 20 wickets in last year’s Big Bash in Australia, removed Brendan Taylor (three) and skipper Chamu Chibhabha (15) in successive overs.
Donald Tiripano (15) added 30 for the seventh wicket with Burl before falling to Rauf in the 19th over.
Usman, son of the late Pakistan star spinner Abdul Qadir, chipped in with the wickets of Madhevere, Sikandar Raza (seven) and Elton Chigumbura (18) to further derail Zimbabwe.
Pakistan’s Ahsan Raza became the first umpire to officiate in 50 T20 internationals.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Babar Azam (capt), Haider Ali, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Khushdil Shah, Faheem Ashraf, Wahab Riaz, Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf, Mohammad Hasnain
Zimbabwe: Brendan Taylor (wk), Chamu Chibhabha (capt), Sean Williams, Wesley Madhevere, Sikandar Raza, Ryan Burl, Elton Chigumbura, Tendai Chisoro, Donald Tiripano, Blessing Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava