Rawalpindi: Skipper Babar Azam’s 82 off 55 guided Pakistan to a six-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the first T20I here at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Chasing a moderate target of 157, Fakhar Zaman and Azam opened the innings for the hosts. The openers added a 36-run stand for the first wicket. Zaman departed after playing a knock of 19 runs.
Haider Ali joined Azam in the middle but the former failed to add big runs on the scoreboard. Ali (7) was bagged by Richard Ngarava in the eighth over.
Mohammad Hafeez, who came in to bat at number four, played a crucial knock and added an 80-run partnership for the third wicket with Azam.
Meanwhile, Azam completed his 15th half-century in the format and was finally removed in the 17th over after smashing 82 runs including one six and nine fours.
In the penultimate over, Blessing Muzarabani sent Hafeez (36) back to the pavilion but by that time Pakistan were in a solid position, just one run away from the victory. Khusdil Shah and Mohammad Rizwan remained unbeaten on 5 and 0 respectively.
For Zimbabwe, Muzarabani bagged two wickets while Tendai Chatara and Ngarava scalped one wicket each.
Earlier, Wesley Madhevere’s 70-run anchor knock and Elton Chigumbura’s 21 off 13 balls steered the visitors to 156/6 in their 20 overs.
Seam Williams and Brendan Taylor also made contributions of 25 and 20 runs respectively.
For Pakistan, Haris Rauf and Wahab Riaz clinched two scalps each.
Pakistan are now leading the three-match series by 1-0. The second T20I between both the teams will be played on Sunday, November 8.
Zimbabwe 156/6 (Wesley Madhevere 70*, Sean Williams 25, Haris Rauf 2-25) lost to Pakistan 157/4 (Babar Azam 82, Mohammad Hafeez 36, Blessing Muzarabani 2-26) by six wickets.