(Cricinfo) A hapless Zimbabwe side ran into red-hot Pakistan in the third ODI in Bulawayo yesterday, turning in a performance that made the first two games look like heroic over-achievement.
Batting first after winning the toss, Pakistan effectively killed off the contest in the first hour, Zimbabwe slumping to 43 for 7 within 15 overs. Slight resistance by Wellington Masakadza at the end took them past 64 – the lowest total for which Pakistan has ever bowled out an international side – but only just.
As Faheem Ashraf’s yorker cannoned into Richard Ngarava’s off stump to give the allrounder his first five-wicket haul, Zimbabwe had been bowled out for 67, which Pakistan chased in just under 10 overs to wrap up their second consecutive nine-wicket win and a series win to boot.
With Mohammad Amir rested, Usman Khan was the de facto leader of the attack, and he began proceedings by removing Prince Masvaure off just his second delivery. This began the merry-go-round between the Zimbabwean pavilion and the crease.
Junaid Khan, who looked sharp despite not having played at this level for nearly a year, sent skipper Hamilton Masakadza and Tarisai Musakanda on their way. He managed to get good bounce from the surface, particularly for Musakanda’s wicket, lulling him into a hook as the ball rose on him far too sharply to control.
The middle overs – if that’s what overs 8-14 could be called here – belonged to Faheem. Bowling with great pace and accuracy, he blew away the hosts’ middle order; what began as an unsteady start turned into an embarrassing catastrophe. He was accurate with his yorker, dangerous with his bounce and canny with his line and length.
It was much too much for this dispirited Zimbabwean side, but Blessing Muzarabani conjured him one last act of resistance, removing Imam-ul-Haq off the first ball of the innings. That was all Zimbabwe had to celebrate though. Fakhar Zaman smashed 43 off 24 balls as Pakistan hurtled towards the target in record time; never before have Pakistan chased down a target with over 40 overs to spare.
When he smashed the 59th ball of the innings through midwicket for four, the target had been achieved and the game was over, half an hour before the scheduled lunch break.