Pakistan sweeps Zimbabwe 5-0 with 131-run win in 5th ODI
BULAWAYO, Zimbabwe (AP) — Imam-ul-Haq smashed his third century of the series and Fakhar Zaman became the fastest batsman to complete 1,000 runs in ODIs as Pakistan swept Zimbabwe 5-0 with a 131-run win in the fifth one-day international on Sunday.
Imam hit 110 off 105 balls, and Zaman scored 85 off 83 to reach the 1,000 mark in only his 18th ODI, with Pakistan posting yet another strong total of 364-4 after choosing to bat.
Zaman improved on the record of 21 matches which was shared by five cricketers, including his teammate Babar Azam, who made 106 off 76.
Zimbabwe’s top-order batsmen finally found some sort of form and finished on 233-4 — their best total in the series.
Ryan Murray, dropped twice, top scored with 47 off 70 and Peter Moor remained unbeaten on a 54-ball 44.
In a lopsided series, Pakistan won two matches by nine wickets and two by more than 200 runs before wrapping up the series on Sunday.
“It was a great team effort, we wanted to finish on a high note,” said Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed.
Imam and Zaman continued their prolific run against a weak bowling attack by sharing the fourth century-stand of the series.
Zaman, who needed 20 to complete 1,000 runs, reached the landmark with a cracking square cut boundary off Tendai Chatara.
Zaman finished with 515 runs in the series that included a century and also Pakistan’s first ever double hundred in an ODI. It was the second most runs in a bilateral ODI series after Virat Kohli’s 558 runs, which the India skipper made against South Africa earlier this year in a six-match series.
Zaman looked set to break Kohli’s record before he was caught behind off Liam Roche after putting on a 168-run opening stand off 150 balls with Imam.
“I really enjoyed it,” Zaman said of his brilliant run in the series. “I was taking my time at the start, waiting to punish the bad deliveries.”
Imam hit eight fours and a six before he was trapped leg before wicket while going for a sweep shot off Wellington Masakadza’s off-spin bowling.
Azam then took charge and scored at a brisk pace as Pakistan clobbered 44 runs in the last three overs. Azam hit nine fours and two sixes and completed his eighth ODI century.
Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza and Tinashe Kamunhukamwe both made 34 runs each and shared a 66-run first-wicket stand before falling in successive overs.
Prince Masvaure (39) and Murray also got starts before both fell while going for big shots. Left-arm spinner Mohammad Nawaz picked up 2-47 while fast bowler Hasan Ali got 2-55.
Hamilton Masakadza conceded there was a huge gap between his inexperienced team and Pakistan.
“This series has shown how big a gap there is and how much work remains to be done before our next series,” he said.
The hosts were without five top players for the series due to differences with their cricket board.