HARARE: Shoaib Malik’s brilliant fightback was foiled by bad light as Zimbabwe beat Pakistan by five runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method in a drama-filled second one-day international at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
Malik was left stranded on 96 not out having hauled Pakistan from 76 for six to 256 for eight chasing 277 for victory when the umpires took the players off the field with two overs remaining.
The game had earlier been delayed by a brief rain shower, but the decision left the 33-year-old batsman furious as he was denied the opportunity to carry his team across the line.
The result left the three-match series level ahead of Monday’s tour finale, and although Zimbabwe were breathing a sigh of relief after nearly letting the game slip, their victory represented a remarkable turnaround.
Chasing Zimbabwe’s 276 for 6, the men in green sank to 76 for 6 before Shoaib Malik and Aamer Yamin resurrected the chase with a 111-run stand for the seventh wicket.
After a rain delay Malik was on 96, with 21 needed from 12 deliveries, when the heavy clouds prompted umpires Ruchira Palliyaguruge and Jeremiah Matibiri to take the players off.
With the sun setting, the light only got worse, allowing a rare Zimbabwe win — much to Malik, and Pakistan’s chagrin. In the end, Pakistan was five runs off the Duckworth-Lewis equation.
Earlier, a composed 90 from Chamu Chibhabha and a late flourish from Elton Chigumbura took Zimbabwe to a competitive total in the second one-day international against Pakistan at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.
Under pressure after being bowled out for a paltry 128 in the series opener, Zimbabwe’s batsmen gave a better reflection of their abilities in posting 276 for six after being asked to bat first.
Their innings was founded on Chibhabha’s fifth half-century of the year, as the opener steadily went about constructing an innings after encountering some swing early on.
His 91-run stand with rookie Brian Chari laid the groundwork as Zimbabwe progressed to 118 for one in the 29th over.
Pakistan’s persistence in keeping a slip in place paid off when Chari edged Mohammad Irfan to depart for a patient 39, and Wahab Riaz found the edge of Sean Williams’ bat.
However Chibhabha added 59 for the fourth wicket with Chigumbura, who ensured that he was ready to launch by the time that Chibhabha had been caught behind off Riaz.
The Zimbabwe captain launched two sixes as he put on 62 runs in six overs with Sikandar Raza Butt, before hitting his wicket to depart for 67 from 55 balls and give Riaz a fourth victim.
With Sikandar Raza and Richmond Mutumbami also finding the middle of the bat, Zimbabwe added a further 23 from the last nine balls of their innings to leave Pakistan with a tall chase.
Experimenting with new players, Azhar made two changes in the team’s lineup. Opening batsman Ahmed Shehzad and all-rounder Imad Wasim was been replaced by Asad Shafiq and Bilal Asif.
On the other hand, Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura decided to go with the same team that played the first ODI.
Earlier on Thursday, leggie Yasir Shah returned his career-best figures as Pakistan routed Zimbabwe by 131 runs in the first one-dayer.
Chasing a target of 260 after a century stand by Mohammad Rizwan and Imad had rescued the Pakistan innings, Zimbabwe were bowled out for just 128 in 37 overs.