The Pakistan A opening batsman Fakhar Zaman starred with a magnificent innings of 180 as the tourists turned on full power and totally outclassed Zimbabwe A by a margin of 188 runs at Harare Sports Club today.
Close behind was the left-arm spinner, Mohammad Asghar, whose wiles were more than most of the Zimbabweans could handle, as he took five wickets for 41 runs.
On another warm, sunny morning Zimbabwe A won the toss and put Pakistan A in to bat.
The pitch had a greenish tinge to it but in fact turned out to be a batting paradise, and the home team must have deeply regretted their decision.
Zimbabwe A made one change to their team from Monday’s match, replacing Sikandar Raza with the all-rounder Tendai Chisoro. Pakistan A were unchanged.
Zimbabwe’s opening bowlers were steady rather than dangerous, and the opening batsmen Zaman and Jaahid Ali themselves played a steady game, scoring 32 runs off the first 10 overs.
After that the line on their scoring graph rose upwards at an ever-increasing rate as they punished the Zimbabwe attack.
Jaahid had 17 when he gloved a ball to first slip — except that all the slips had by now been removed. Regis Chakabva, the wicket-keeper, dived for the ball but could only get half a glove on it.
The team fifty came up in the 15th over, and then the batsmen stepped up a gear or two.
The left-handed Zaman was the more aggressive of the two, with his driving being especially impressive – he reached his fifty off 54 balls.
At 92 the off-spinner Tapiwa Mufudza pushed a ball through quicker to beat Jaahid, trapping him lbw for a valuable 29; this was the 22nd over.
With Umar Amin now at the crease, the 100 came up in the 24th over.
Zaman continued to dominate, his century coming up off 100 balls.
In the 38th over the score reached 200, and the batsmen hit harder than ever, runs coming at the rate of more than one a ball.
Amin reached his fifty off 61 balls, and Zaman 150 off 130 before he played two powerful slog-sweeps to hit Neville Madziva for six off successive deliveries.
He was on course for a double century when, in the 47th over, with his score at 180, he clipped a catch off Tendai Chatara to short fine leg.
Zaman faced 145 balls, hit 21 fours and four sixes, and his innings was the highest in an official one-day match in Zimbabwe apart from Charles Coventry’s 194 not out in an ODI against Bangladesh at Bulawayo in 2009/10.
The innings finally ended with a score of 339 for two wickets, the not-out batsmen being Amin with 83 off 77 balls and the captain, Shoaib Maqsood, 23 off 13.
No bowler was able to escape the slaughter, the most economical being Chisoro, who conceded 56 runs off his 10 overs.
There was one expensive wicket each to Chatara and Mufudza.
Faced with an almost hopeless task, Zimbabwe A were soon in deep trouble.
Vusi Sibanda was adjudged lbw without scoring, to a ball from Hamza that jagged back on him.
Brian Chari pulled Ehsan Adil for a superb six over square leg, but in the next over he groped at a ball from Hamza outside the off stump and was caught at the wicket for 18; 20 for two in the sixth over.
Tarisai Musakanda, cautious at first, and Chakabva, aggressive from the start, had to face the crisis.
They did well for a while, until Chakabva, 14 off 12 balls, was caught at slip off the first ball bowled by Asghar.
Malcolm Waller scored only a single before slicing the same bowler’s fifth ball to third man; 56 for four.
In his next over Asghar trapped Richmond Mutumbami lbw for one, reducing the home side to 60 for five at the first drinks interval.
For a while Musakanda and Madziva fought back, and the team 100 came up in the 25th over.
But one run later a silly run-out saw Musakanda departing for 40, after another fine fighting innings for his team.
Chisoro made an aggressive 18 off 15 balls before being stumped off Asghar; 138 for seven.
Madziva on 47 fell to a rare method of dismissal. He played the ball down the pitch, started for a possible run, then turned back, kicking the ball away as he did so. He was adjudged to have done this deliberately and given out ‘obstructing the field’.
Mufudza was quickly bowled by Adil for four and Carl Mumba caught at the wicket for two, making the total 151.
The margin of defeat was 188 runs, a massive gulf and a serious wake-up call for the home team.
The third of the five-match series will be played at the same venue on Friday, and between now and then Zimbabwe A have much serious work to do if they are to compete with a very powerful and talented opponent.
Pakistan A – 339 for 2 in 50 overs (Fakhar Zaman 180, Umar Amin 83*; Tendai Chatara 1/57, Tapiwa Mufudza 1/63)
Zimbabwe A – 151 all out in 45 overs (Neville Madziva 47, Tarisai Musakanda 40; Mohammad Asghar 5/41, Mir Hamza 2/19)