Mon, Jan 28, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Afridi blasts Pakistan to victory

AGENCIES , MULTAN, PAKISTAN

Zimbabwe's Elton Chigumbura, right, delivers the ball as Salman Butt looks on during yesterday's third One-Day International between Pakistan and Zimbabwe in Multan, Pakistan.

PHOTO: AFP

Hard-hitting batsman Shahid Afridi smashed 85 off 52 balls yesterday to spearhead Pakistan to victory against a competitive Zimbabwe in the third limited-overs international.

Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 37 runs to take an unassailable 3-0 lead in the five-match series.

Zimbabwe medium-fast bowler Tawanda Mupariwa's career-best figures of 4-46 had Pakistan in trouble at 78-5 before Afridi launched into the Zimbabwe attack to take Pakistan to 272-9 in their 50 overs.

Zimbabwe could only manage 235-7 in their allotted 50 overs.

They did put up a fight through Sean Williams (71) and Brendon Taylor (55), who shared a defiant 105-run stand for the fourth wicket, but they failed to meet the required run-rate.

Pakistan paceman Sohail Tanveer had the tourists in trouble early as he dismissed Vusi Sibanda (six) and stand-in captain Hamilton Masakadza (10) before Tatenda Taibu (10) was run out.

Pakistan skipper Shoaib Malik had Taylor stumped, while Afridi accounted for Williams as both fell in the space of 11 runs. Elton Chigumbura remained not out on 42.

Afridi, playing in his 252nd one-day international, lofted his sixth six off left-arm spinner Keith Dabengwa that brought him level with Sri Lanka's Sanath Jayasuriya's world record of 245 sixes from 403 matches.

Afridi also hit two fours before stand-in captain Hamilton Masakadza took a well judged catch in Mupariwa's return spell.

Mupariwa gave Zimbabwe a terrific start after Pakistan captain Shoaib Malik won the toss and elected to bat, but Afridi's 116-run partnership off 90 balls with Misbah-ul-Haq (44 off 50 balls) put Pakistan back on track.

Wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal and debutante all-rounder Kamran Hussain both made 28 each to give Pakistan a decent total to defend.

Mupariwa, getting his first opportunity in the series, trapped Younis Khan (10) leg before wicket off his first delivery and struck in his next over by removing opening batsman Nasir Jamshed (32).

He also took a brilliant reflex catch off his own bowling to dismiss experienced Mohammad Yousuf (5).

Malik (3) was run out for the second time in the series before Afridi took charge.

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