Cricket news - Shaheen Afridi, Riaz inspire Pakistan's win

Shaheen Afridi finished with figures of 5 for 49.

Shaheen Afridi finished with figures of 5 for 49.

Despite Brendan Taylor's superbly paced 117-ball 112, Zimbabwe slipped to a 26-run loss versus Pakistan in the first ODI in Rawalpindi. The visitors ended up with 255, while chasing a target of 282. For the home side, Wahab Riaz and Shaheen Shah Afridi combined to share nine wickets between them.

In pursuit of a sizeable target, the tourists were in the game until the 47th over when Shaheen Shah Afridi dismissed Taylor with a well disguised slower one. Once Taylor was dismissed, Riaz and Afridi ran through the opposition to chart the home team's victory.

However, Zimbabwe certainly gave a scare to their formidable opponent, with the duo of Taylor and Wesley Madhevere sharing a stand of 119 for the fifth wicket. Madhevere played with a mature head on his shoulders and also took the aggressive route to take the pressure off Taylor. The experienced batsman then decided to press the accelerator pedal by thumping Imad Wasim for a boundary and a six in the 32nd over. To make matters worse for Pakistan, Fakhar Zaman, the substitute, dropped Madhevere in the 37th over.

Taylor soon completed his 11th ODI ton with a single off Rauf in the 44th over. At that juncture, with Zimbabwe still in the hunt, Riaz dismissed Madhevere with a short of a length delivery to start the slide. It was a game that had its share of twists and turns as Pakistan started on a good note by picking up a couple of wickets inside the first five overs before Taylor and Craig Ervine joined forces to share an alliance of 71.

Earlier, Haris Sohail and Imam-ul-Haq composed fifties to power Pakistan to a formidable total. After opting to bat, the hosts lost their first wicket in the form of Abid Ali, with the score reading 47. At that stage, the pair of Babar Azam and Imam stitched an enterprising stand of 42 for the second wicket. However, the visitors continued to pick up wickets at regular intervals to peg Pakistan back, with Blessing Muzarabani snuffing out Babar. The home side also lost the wicket of Imam on the back of a terrible mix-up with Haris in the 26th over.

Haris, who was dropped by Brendan Taylor off Wesley Madhevere, then steered Pakistan through the middle overs. He also smacked Mumba for two boundaries and a six in the 40th over. Eventually, in an attempt to push the scoring rate further, he perished, edging Sikandar Raza to the wicketkeeper Taylor. Faheem Ashraf and Imad Wasim, batting at seven and eight, then chipped in with useful scores to pilot the home team past the 250-run mark. For the visitors, Muzarabani, the tall pacer, who is making a return to the national set-up, bagged a couple of wickets. Chisoro, the all-rounder, also ended up with noteworthy figures of 2 for 31.

Brief scores: Pakistan 281/8 in 50 overs (Haris Sohail 71, Imam-ul-Haq 58; Tendai Chisoro 2-31) beat Zimbabwe 255 in 49.4 overs (Brendan Taylor 112, Wesley Madhevere 55; Shaheen Afridi 5-49, Wahab Riaz 4-41) by 26 runs.