HARARE: Mohammad Hafeez s 136 helped Pakistan draw level in the ODI series against Zimbabwe, setting up a 90-run win in the second game in Harare.
Zimbabwe were all out at 209 while chasing a target of 299 set by Pakistan.
With the series at stake, Pakistan hit back strongly by posting a total well beyond Zimbabwe s reach, thereby giving the final match greater context.
Mohammad Hafeez led the way with an attacking, unbeaten 136 to lift Pakistan to 299, and although Zimbabwe had their moments in the chase, they failed to stretch Pakistan over a sustained period.
A clump of wickets towards the end widened the gap between the two sides, as the margin of victory suggested.
Zimbabwe didn t get the solid start they would have hoped for to set the platform for their tall chase of 300, losing three wickets by the halfway mark.
However, Brendan Taylor kept their hopes alive with a positive fifty – his first in 13 innings – and a fifty-plus stand with Sean Williams.
The challenge was keeping up with the increasing asking rate, which had crossed seven.
Vusi Sibanda fell top edging a pull off Mohammad Irfan that landed safely in Sarfraz Ahmed s gloves. Hamilton Masakadza and Sibanda had, until this game, produced opening stands of 53, 50 and 107 so it was a relief for Pakistan that the openers disbanded early as the third over.
Masakadza found early momentum with some powerful boundaries off Irfan.
He looked uncomfortable with the rising delivery, but when Irfan adjusted to fuller lengths, Masakadza made room and smashed it past cover for consecutive boundaries.
A promising knock turned out to be just a cameo as Masakadza lost his off stump to Junaid Khan, beaten for pace and lower bounce.
Timycen Maruma s indifferent form in the series extended with a run-out, sent back after setting off for a risky single to cover.
Much depended on Taylor to lead the way. He wasn t afraid of reverse sweeping the spinners, finding the boundary on two occasions, and also using his feet to them, chipping over the off side.
Williams and Taylor targeted Pakistan s main bowler, Saeed Ajmal, in his first over, playing the conventional and reverse sweeps to give the chase some momentum.