Pakistan notch up nervy win

Published: Sunday, October 3, 2004, 23:53 [IST]
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Peshawar:Pakistan overcame a plenty of jittery moments before chalking out a hard-fought three-wicket victory over a spirited Zimbabwe in match two of the Paktel Cup in Peshawar.

Facing a Pakistan side depleted by absence of pacers Shoaib Akhtar and Mohaamed Sami, both of whom have been rested, in a bid to keep them fresh and fit for the long international season ahead, lowly Zimbabwe rattled up 252-4 before pushing the hosts hard as they were reduced to 89-4.

Young all-rounder Shoaib Malik went about the repair job admirably as he and Younis Khan turned things around for Pakistan with a superb fifth-wicket partnership of 114 off 128 deliveries.

Malik played a well-paced inninngs. He milked the Pakistan bowling getting the ones and twos with relative ease before opening up.

Younis Khan, who earlier, don the wicketkeeping gloves for Moin Khan, who was down with flu, took some to settle down.

Once he got his eye in, Khan soon got into the thick of things as he scored an enterprising 77 off 86 balls to ensure there was no further alarms for the home side.

For Zimbabwe, Tinashe Panyangara bowled well snaring 3/24

Earlier, put into bat by stand-in captain Yousuf Youhana, Zimbabwe openers Stuart Matsikenyeri and Brendon Taylor gave them a solid start as they put on 87 for the first wicket before Matsikenyeri was caught by Sami of leggie Afridi for a well-compiled 41.

V Sibanda failed to get going as he was run out for a duck.

Left-handed Taylor and Dion Ebrahim held the innings together and both soon opened out with some fine shots on sides of the wicket. Taylor soon reached his fifty before Hasan dismissed the southpaw caught by skipper Youhana for 73.

Taylor's 73 came off 122 balls, studded with seven hits to the boundary.

Hasan added another to his wickets column when he castled the talented Mark Vermuelen for one.

In came diminutive skipper Tatenda Taibu, who joined forces with Dion Ebrahim and the pair plundered the Pakistan bowling to all parts of the ground as they took 91 runs off the last 62 balls of the match .

Seamer Naved-ul-Hasan, who has been a bit of a revelation for Pakistan in recent times, came in for some shellacking as he went for 82 off his allotted ten overs.

Taibu blasted an unbeaten 46 off just 33 balls, while Ebrahim remained unbeaten on 71. Mluleki Nkala eventually removed Malik, the specialist seamer bizarrely bowling as fifth change.

Taibu rang the bowling changes as Malik and Younis took control of the situation and brought the men in green at the doorstep of victory.

Mluleki Nkala eventually removed Malik, the specialist seamer bizarrely bowling as fifth change.

But there was more drame in store, as Pakistan lost two more wickets, including the run-out of Younis with the scores level but still coasted home with 11 balls remaining.

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