Pakistan pull off sensational win to take Twenty20 series
Pakistan pulled off a sensational last over win by two wickets in the second Twenty20 international against Zimbabwe in Lahore on Sunday to take the two-match series 2-0. With 12 needed off the last paceman Brian Vitori's last over number ten Bilawal Bhatti hit a six and four besides taking a double to help Pakistan overhaul a stiff 176-run target in 19.4 overs.
Opener Mukhtar Ahmed hit his second consecutive fifty during his 40-ball 62 to entertain another packed 27,000 holiday crowd.
The win added to Pakistan's joy as the series marked the return of international cricket in Pakistan since terrorists attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009. Heavy security continued to remain alert with 4,000 policemen guarding the stadium as helicopters surveilled both teams' arrival in the evening.
Zimbabwe only agreed to tour after Pakistan Cricket Board guaranteed foolproof security normally reserved for heads of state.
Mukhtar, who made a quick 45-ball 83 in the first match, put on 44 by the fifth over with Ahmed Shehzad (18) and another 37 with debutant Nauman Anwer (18) before Pakistan lost four wickets in quick succession.
Mukhtar, dropped on 15 and 55, holed out at mid-on before Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi - who both made seven each - and Umar Akmal (30) fell to leave Pakistan needing 24 in the last 4.1 overs.
Anwar Ali (two) and Mohammad Rizwan (six) fell in the space of five balls before Bhatti's heroics sealed the win for Pakistan.
The 2-0 win keeps Pakistan's fifth place in the Twenty20 rankings intact while Zimbabwe remained as low as 12th.
Earlier, Sean Williams hit a rapid 32-ball 58 not out with seven boundaries and a six and opener Vusi Sibanda 46-ball 49 to help Zimbabwe to a solid 175-3 after winning the toss.
Sibanda added an invaluable 68 for the opening stand with fellow opener Hamilton Masakadza (39) before adding the same tally with Williams as Pakistani bowlers struggled to stop the flow of runs.
Masakadza hit three successive boundaries off seamer Bilawal Bhatti before he holed out off spinner Shoaib Malik who took 1-23 in his four overs.
Sibanda hit two boundaries and a six before becoming Afridi's first wicket in the last three Twenty20 matches.
Williams hit Afridi for six to reach his maiden fifty off just 26 balls, improving on his previous best T20 score of 38 made against Bangladesh in Khulna nine years ago.
Elton Chigumbura lifted the score by hitting three successive sixes in paceman Mohammad Sami's over. Chigumbura made 21 off just nine balls. Sami, Afridi and Malik took a wicket apiece.
Both teams will now play three one-day internationals on May 26, 29 and 31.
Did not bat: Sikander Raza, G. Cremer, C. Chibhabha, C. Mpofu, B. Vitori, P. Utseya
Fall of wickets: 1-68 (Masakadza), 2-136 (Sibanda), 3-168 (Chigumbura)
Bowling: Ali 3-0-31 0, Sami 4-0-38-1, Bhatti 3-0-31-0, Wasim 2-0-14-0, Afridi 4-0-36-1, Malik 4-0-23-1
Did not bat: Mohammad Sami
Fall of wickets: 1-44 (Shehzad), 2-81 (Anwer), 3-95 (Malik), 4-117 (Mukhtar), 5-130 (Afridi), 6-152 (Akmal), 7-155 (Ali), 8-161 (rizwan)
Bowling: Mpofu 4-0-25-2 (1w), Vitori 3.4-0-36-1 (1w0, Williams 4-0-32-2, Utsyea 4-0-31-1 (1w), Cremer 2-0-27-0, Raza 2-0-19-1
Result: Pakistan won by two wickets
Umpires: Ahsan Raza (PAK) and Ahmed Shahab (PAK)
Tv umpire: Shozab Raza (PAK)
Match referee: Azhar Khan (PAK).
Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2015