Pakistan hold off Zim in Bulawayo

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Aizaz Cheema picked up three wickets and Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq hit half-centuries as Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by five runs in the first ODI in Bulawayo.

Aizaz Cheema picked up three wickets and Younis Khan and Misbah-ul-Haq hit half-centuries as Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by five runs in the first ODI in Bulawayo.

After being set 248 on a very good batting deck at the Queens Sports Club, Vusi Sibanda and Brendan Taylor replied with half-tons of their own but the hosts could only manage 242 for seven in the end.

Sibanda laid the foundations for a solid chase with 73 from 89 balls, but he didn't get much support at the start of the innings from fellow opener Chamu Chibhabha and number three Hamilton Masakadza. Chibhabha was bowled for a single by Sohail Tanvir in the third over and Masakadza departed for 15 after being trapped lbw by Mohammad Hafeez.

Sibanda kept Zimbabwe on course with 50 from 68 balls and he finally found a willing partner in captain Taylor. The duo shared a 61-run stand before Sibanda chipped the ball back to Cheema.

Taylor then added 60 runs with Tatenda Taibu (26) but the wicketkeeper was undone by a slower ball from Cheema.

Zimbabwe also lost Malcolm Waller in the chase for quick runs, but the fatal blow came in the 49th over when Taylor's slog sweep off Cheema found Tanvir at midwicket.

Elton Chigumbura was the final man to perish, run out for 24, as the hosts fell just short of a gettable target.

Pakistan enjoyed two half-centuries and three other good starts but not one of them were able to kick on earlier in the day.

For Younis's 78 and Misbah's 54 and a string of medium cameos, the tourists landed a score of 247 for seven, though they would've wanted something in excess of 280.

Mohammad Hafeez (26), Umar Akmal (36) and Adnan Akmal (27) were left to rue a job not completed. All three had ample opportunity to at least match the efforts of their former and current captain, but a slew of undisciplined shot selection failed them.

Spinner Ray Price was the pick of the bowlers with two for 39, though Chris Mpofu's figures of two for 54 in trying conditions for the seamers should not be discredited.

Earlier the hosts won the toss and named Chigumbura in their starting XI after the all-rounder recovered from a knee injury, while the tourists afforded seamer Cheema his first cap and recalled Shoaib Malik, who last played international a year ago.

Seamer Sohail Tanvir and batsman Imran Farhat, out of the picture for six and eight months respectively, also enjoyed recalls.

<B>Zimbabwe:</B> Justice Chibhabha, Vusi Sibanda, Hamilton Masakadza, Brendan Taylor, Tatenda Taibu, MalcolmWaller, Greg Lamb, Elton Chigumbura, Prosper Utseya, Ray Price, Chris Mpofu.

<B>Pakistan:</B> Mohammad Hafeez, Imran Farhat, Younis Khan, Misbah-ul-Haq, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Adnan Akmal, Sohail Tanvir, Saeed Ajmal, Junaid Khan, Aizaz Cheema.

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