Iftikhar five-for sets stage as Babar clinches Pakistan series success

By Sports Desk November 01, 2020

Iftikhar Ahmed's five-wicket haul and a fine display from Babar Azam inspired Pakistan in a dominant six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe to clinch their one-day series after two matches.

Iftikhar (5-40) had not bowled at all in the first ODI – a 26-run win – and his sole prior international wicket in this format came in his 2015 debut against England.

But in the absence of rested paceman Wahab Riaz, who took four wickets in the previous match, the off-spinner was handed the ball on Sunday and took full advantage.

Debutant Muhammad Musa (2-21) also made an early contribution with the dismissal of Craig Ervine, yet it was Iftikhar who intervened each time Zimbabwe started to build momentum.

The 30-year-old took his five wickets in succession, starting with dangermen Brendan Taylor (36) and finishing with Sean Williams (75).

Musa then brought the innings to a close as Carl Mumba's departure saw Zimbabwe all out for 206 in the 46th over, teeing up a routine Pakistan chase.

Tendai Chisoro (2-49) belatedly slowed the hosts as he removed both openers, but that brought Babar to the crease and the Pakistan skipper excelled.

Babar finished unbeaten on 77 off 74 balls, a steady but effective innings that finished with a flourish as he found the long-off fence with 88 balls still remaining.

The captain propelled Pakistan to 208-4 having also earlier helped Haider Ali – another debutant – through his first 29 runs at this level.

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