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Babar Azam

Pakistan win T20 series as Babar Azam, Haider Ali score fifties

RAWALPINDI: Pakistan captain Babar Azam and young batting sensation Haider Ali slammed half-centuries to defeat hapless Zimbabwe in the second T20I and wrap up T20 series at Pindi Stadium Rawalpindi on Sunday.

Electing to field after winning the toss, Pakistan pacer Haris Rauf and leg-spinner Usman Qadir, the son of former Pakistan international Abdul Qadir, displayed fabulous bowling performances as the visitors could manage to score just 134 for seven in allotted 20 overs, courtesy to Ryan Ponsonby Burl, who scored unbeaten 32 off 22 balls with the help of a six and a boundary. Wesley Madhevere was the other main scorer for Zimbabwe as he made 24 off 22 balls, hitting three fours and a six.
Haris Rauf and Usman Qadir picked up three scalps apiece for 31 and 23 runs respectively, while allrounder Faheem Ashraf grabbed one wicket. Pacers Mohammad Hasnain and Wahab Riaz remained wicketless.
Pakistan’s reply was not convincing at the start as when they were on 10, opener Fakhar Zaman departed after scoring five runs off 11 balls. Young Haider Ali joined his captain Babar Azam as both produced scintillating batting performances. Babar hammered the fastest half-century of his T20I career, scoring 51 runs off 28 balls with the help of eight boundaries and a huge six. Man-of-the-match Haider remained unbeaten on 66 off 43 balls, smashing six boundaries and three sixes. Pakistan won the match in 15.1 overs as Khushdil Shah, who came on two down position finished the game in style as he pulled off Ngarava’s short ball to deep mid-wicket fence for four. Khushdil, who debuted on Saturday was given another chance to make his case further as he made unbeaten 11 off nine balls. Pakistan proved too strong for a sloppy Zimbabwe as they won the second Twenty20 international by eight wickets in Rawalpindi on Sunday, 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 Tuesday, 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. | YouTube Channel

M M Alam

M. M. Alam is a Pakistan-based working journalist since 1981. Karachi University faculty gold medalist Alam began his career four decades ago by writing for Dawn, Pakistan’s highest circulating English daily. He has worked for region’s leading publications, global aviation periodicals including Rotors (of USA) and vetted New York Times as permanent employee of daily Express Tribune. Alam regularly covers international aviation and defense-related events including Salon Du Bourget (France), Farnborough (United Kingdom), Dubai (UAE). Alam has reported thousands of events and interviewed hundreds of people in Pakistan, UAE, EU, UK and USA. Being Francophone Alam also coordinates with a number of French publications.