The Sunday News
Mehluli Sibanda, Senior Sports Reporter
Pakistan 149/7 20 overs (Rizwan 82*, Aziz 15, Zaman 13, Madhevere 2/11, Jongwe 2/24, Muzarabani 1/22) beat Zimbabwe 138/7 20 overs (Ervine 34, Jongwe 30*, Kamunhukamwe 29, Usman Qadir 3/29, Mohammad Hasnain 2/27) by 11 runs
MISSED opportunities saw Zimbabwe lose the first Twenty20 International cricket contest to Pakistan by 11 runs at Harare Sports Club on Wednesday.
While Zimbabwe dropped three catches in total, the missed opportunity to remove Mohammad Rizwan when he was on 13 was what mattered the most. Man of the Match Mohammad Rizwan, put down off Richard Ngarava’s bowling by Tinashe Kamunhukamwe punished Zimbabwe with an unbeaten 82 to take Pakistan to 149/7 in 20 overs.
In response, Zimbabwe could only manage 138/7 in 20 overs, the highest run contribution coming from Craig Ervine with 34 from 23 deliveries and a valiant effort from Luke Jongwe, who scored an unbeaten 30 off 23 balls on his return to international cricket almost took the home team over the line.
Pakistan struggled after losing the toss and were asked to bat with their skipper Babar Azam gone early for two runs, removed by Blessing Muzarabani with assistance from Ryan Burl. Zimbabwe missed an opportunity to get rid of the dangerous Rizwan. Kamunhukamwe dived forward but could not hold on to the catch and Rizwan survived.
Rizwan went on to punish Zimbabwe and feasted on Ngarava in the last over in which he took 20 runs.
Off spinner Wesley Madhevere was the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers with two wickets for 11 runs, Jongwe also had two while Muzarabani and Ngarava had one wicket apiece.
Zimbabwe’s run chase got off to a bad start with Madhevere and debutant Tadiwanashe Marumani gone without contributing much to team’s cause, both removed by Mohammad Hasnain. Marumani was dismissed for a first ball duck in his first ever international match.
Ervine and Kamunhukamwe gave Zimbabwe with a 56-run stand for the third wicket but the two fell in quick succession. The dismissal of the duo left Zimbabwe with a daunting task.
Jongwe was Zimbabwe’s last remaining hope but try as he did, he could not take the home team over the finish line as the task at hand became too much for him.
The second T20I is on Friday while the third and final is on Sunday. All the matches are taking place at Harare Sports Club with no crowds being allowed because of Covid-19.