Masakadza: There were no nerves

News

Batsman Hamilton Masakadza emerged the grateful recipient of the Man of the Match award, after Zimbabwe beat Pakistan by seven wickets in Tuesday's series opener at the Harare Sports Club.

Batsman Hamilton Masakadza emerged the grateful recipient of the Man of the Match award, after Zimbabwe beat Pakistan by seven wickets in Tuesday's series opener at the Harare Sports Club.

The result afforded the African minnows their first ODI triumph over the sub-continental big guns in almost 15 years – and an early, vital lead in the three-match series. Masakadza, for his authoritative 85, was at the fore of a successful pursuit of a staunch 245-run target.

Pakistan's questionable decision to bat first after winning the toss had brought a final total of 244 for seven on the back of half-centuries from the right-handed Mohammad Hafeez and captain Misbah-ul-Haq.

The Zimbabweans' reply, later, benefitted from Masakadza's cool, calm and collection alongside fellow opener Vusi Sibanda – and brisk cameos from skipper Brendan Taylor and the enterprising Sean Williams under heavy pressure.

"I always knew that the wicket would ease out. We just wanted to start well and build a partnership. The wicket flattened out after the initial few overs and it became a lot more easier to bat," said Masakadza.

"There was no nerves even after Sibanda got out. We knew that we could achieve the target with some partnerships. We just kept the runs ticking over and in the end we got over the line, which was great."

Pakistan skipper Misbah-ul-Haq, who made 85, was gracious in defeat, praising Masakadza and the batsmen for staying calm from the get-go. He also said they'd misread the wicket, even after playing here a few times, and paid the price.

Misbah said: "We misread the pitch. It was looking like it was going to be slow in the second innings, but I think it was slow in the first innings and played better in the second.

"I think Zimbabwe really deserved it. They played really well and played better than us. Specially the way their openers batted, there was no panic in their batting line-up and they did it comfortably.

"The way they bowled and batted, they really took the game away from us. They are a much improved side, especially in home conditions, they are a better side. I think we have to go back and think where we went wrong to really improve our batting, bowling and fielding."

The second ODI will get underway at the same venue on Thursday.

Latest