x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Masakadza bails out sloppy Zimbabwe for first win over Pakistan in 15 years.

A sensational hundred by the opener helps chase down 245-run target despite lapses in the field earlier.

HARARE // Zimbabwe notched a sensational victory as Hamilton Masakadza (85) and Vusi Sibanda (54) struck fluent half-centuries in the first one-day international against Pakistan, their first win in 15 years over the rivals.

Chasing 245 to win, the openers added 107 before Saeed Ajmal removed Sibanda only for captain Brendan Taylor to join Masakadza in the middle. The duo consolidated for the hosts with a 69-run stand and just as Pakistan were dropping their shoulders, Ajmal struck again, seeing off Masakadza.

However, Taylor (43 not out) played a captains's knock and even as Maruma perished to Junaid Khan, the wicketkeeper batsman with Sean Williams (39 not out) helped Zimbabwe get across the line in a tense finish.

Speaking later during the post-match ceremony, Masakadza said he was always confident of the chase from the start after Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat. "I knew that the wicket was going to get better in the afternoon," he said.

"The pitch was better to bat on after the first 10 overs and we just wanted to start well and build a partnership. We were just one down when Taylor came out, so there weren't really any nerves at that time."

Earlier, Misbah-ul-Haq hit a crucial half-century in his 50th consecutive match as Pakistan's one-day captain, but saw his side kept in check.

A topsy-turvy innings saw Zimbabwe miss five chances in the field but still hold Pakistan to 244 for seven - a decent but achievable score on a dry pitch.

Misbah shared in a 99-run stand for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez, who made 70, and finished unbeaten on 83 after holding the innings together as the middle and lower order failed to fire.

It could have been far worse for the tourists had Zimbabwe held their catches - both Nasir Jamshed and Ahmed Shehzad were put down during an opening partnership of 56, while Hafeez was let off on 10 and 55.

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