DateLine: 24th January 2008
Tanvir, Jamshed strike it big
HYDERABAD: Sohail Tanvir's telling double strikes in both his spells and opener Nasir Jamshed firing on all cylinders right from the word go to get a second successive score of 50-plus - improving on his 61 on debut - with a belligerent 74, Pakistan kept up the momentum with their second successive win to lead the five-match rubber 2-0 here at the Niaz Stadium, hosting its first one-day international encounter in a decade since India had played there in 1997.
Shahid Afridi characteristically stroked the ball all over the park for his unbeaten 43 with a solid Mohammad Yousuf at the other end on 38 as a wide delivery saw Pakistan past the post with nearly four overs to spare.
With four top order wickets for 34 in what was the best return of his young career, Sohail Tanvir had been instrumental in restricting Zimbabwe to a manageable 238 - around fifty runs short to what they would have expected at winning the toss and opting to bat first.
That decision to bat first reflected positive mindset of the Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya. And with Hamilton Masakadza and Tatenda Taibu having rebuilt the innings after the double early blow by Tanvir, Zimbabwe were rather well placed at 209 for three in the 43rd over to get to a competitive total.
But Tanvir came back for his second spell and his second two-wicket jolt initiated a collapse that saw Zimbabwe lose five wickets for only nine runs as the innings folded out in a whimper.
Despite having taken the field with just three specialists bowler, the Pakistanis bowled well, especially at the death, and even Rao Iftikhar Anjum, who had leaked runs, as many as 37 of them in his initial four overs bowling first-change, made amends in his second spell, giving away just six runs for both his wickets.
Before the meltdown at in the slog overs, Zimbabwe had been held together by free scoring Masakadza (career-best 87) and Taibu (81), albeit in contrasting style in which the former the more showed more enterprise, in a 137-run stand for the third wicket after Tanvir accounted for both openers Vusi Sibanda and Chamu Chibhabha to leave them tottering at 19 for 2.
If wickets in a bunch had hurt Zimbabwe's cause while batting, it was undone with about half a dozen missed opportunities while fielding that put it beyond repair.
That and the new 18-year old opener Nasir Jamshed belying his age to make his second fifty in as many games. Dropped twice on two and 72, Jamshed's 74 off 64 deliveries in a stand of 95 with Younis Khan (35) took the attack to Zimbabwe after Butt had perished early.
But when it seemed to be coasting towards an early finish, Pakistan too had its collapse with Jamshed, Younis and skipper Shoaib Malik were gone for just 10 runs.
At this Zimbabwe may have thought that they had their chance to make a strong comeback, and then Misbah-ul-Haq was snapped up after a 39-run stand with Yousuf that took too long to compile.
But this brought Shahid Afridi to the crease, and he played a sparkling knock (43 off 27 deliveries, four fours, two sixes) to finish things in a jiffy.
With three matches at Multan (January 27), Faisalabad (January 30) and Sheikhupura (February 2) to go, Pakistan has a stranglehold on the series and unless it becomes complacent or Zimbabwe produces extraordinary, a whitewash seems quite likely.
(Article: compiled by the PCB. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the individuals only.
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