LAHORE - Brilliant batting by Mukhtar Ahmed and Ahmed Shahzad steered Pakistan team to five-wicket triumph over Zimbabwe in the first historical Twetny20 International played here at the jam-packed Gaddafi Stadium on Friday night.
The highlights of the first T20 international were winning boundary by captain Shahid Afridi, impressive knocks by openers Mukhtar and Shahzad and brilliant bowling by M Sami and Wahab Riaz. For Zimbabwe, it were captain Elton Chigumbura and Hamilton Masakadza who impressed the spectators.
Pakistan were off to flying start in reply to Zimbabwe’s 173 runs target. Openers Mukhtar and Shahzad were in great form and punished the Zimbabwean bowlers severely. For the first-wicket partnership, they added 142 runs which was the second highest first-wicket stand after 143-run first wicket partnership between Shahzad and M Hafeez also against Zimbabwe. Mukhtar made 45-ball 83 included 12 fours and three towering sixes while Shahzad hit 39-ball 55 contained six boundaries and one six.
It was Zimbabwean’s Williams, who showed pavilion to Shahzad in 13.3 overs. In the fourth ball of the very next over, Cremer took the wicket of Mukhtar. After the dismissal of both the openers, no batsman could play a big innings and kept on losing their wickets cheaply. Hafeez, Shoaib Malik and Umar Akmal sent back quickly to make the contest interesting. After Umar, captain Afridi came to the crease and helped the team score victory. With the arrival of Afridi, the crowd started chanted slogans ‘Pakistan Zindabad’, ‘We want victory’ and ‘Boom Boom Afridi’ and demanded him to smash a six for win. Afridi lived up to the expectations of the spectators and smashed a boundary to register triumph. Recently-married wicketkeeper batsman Sarfraz Ahmad remained unbeaten at three.
Earlier, Chigumbura won the toss and opted to bat first. The decision paid dividend as Zimbabwe scored 58 runs in 6.4 overs. But the next two deliveries of seventh over proved crucial for Pakistan which made the spectators excited with passionate Sami grabbing two wickets. First he showed pavilion to Vusimuzi Sibanda who was playing at 13 off 15 balls and later he clean-bowled set batsman Hamilton Masakadza who made 43 with the help of seven boundaries and a six.
Zimbabwe captain Chigumbura was the player who amused the spectators with his sparkling batting and played a historic innings during the historic Twenty20. He completed his second international half century and first against Pakistan . He played 35 balls to become top scorer for Zimbabwe as he gathered 54 runs scoring eight boundaries and one four.
The man of the match award went to Mukhtar, most number of sixes and maximum number of boundaries awards also went to Mukhtar while best bowler award went to Sami and most colourful innings award to Chigumbura. While receiving three awards, Mukhtar said: “I am thankful to Allah Almighty for this good innings. I am very happy with the return of the international cricket in Pakistan . I was committed to deliver and succeeded in playing a remarkable innings. I hope I will do best in the match to come.” Winning captain Afridi said: “I am really thankful to crowd who came to support the national team in a large number. They did a superb job and showed the world that we are peaceful, cricket loving and well-disciplined people. I hope the PCB will arrange more tours.”
Chigumbura said: “Yes, it was not a bad game. Both the teams played well. We didn’t take early wickets but later, we managed to make the match close but Pakistan , being a stronger team, managed a strong comeback and recorded a good victory.”

Scoreboard

ZIMBABWE:
H Masakadza b Sami    43
V Sibanda c Sarfraz b Sami    13
C Coventry c Sarfraz b Wahab    14
E Chigumbura b Wahab    54
S Williams c Wahab b Malik     16
Sikandar Raza c Shehzad b Sami     17
R Mutumbami not out    4
A Cremer not out    2
EXTRAS: (lb3, w5, nb1)    9
TOTAL: (6 wkts; 20 overs)    172
FOW: 1-58, 2-58, 3-73, 4-100, 5-142, 6-168
BOWLING: Anwar Ali 3-0-18-0, M Sami 4-0-36-3, Bilawal Bhatti 3-0-37-0, Wahab Riaz 4-0-38-2, Shahid Afridi 3-0-28-0, Shoaib Malik 3-0-12-1
PAKISTAN :
Mukhtar Ahmed c Mutumbami b Cremer    83
Ahmed Shehzad c Mutumbami b Williams    55
M Hafeez c Coventry b Cremer    12
Shoaib Malik b Panyangara    7
Umar Akmal c Sibanda b Vitori    4
Sarfraz Ahmed not out    3
Shahid Afridi not out    4
EXTRAS: (lb5)    5
TOTAL: (5 wickets; 19.3 overs)    173
FOW: 1-142, 2-144, 3-157, 4-162, 5-169  
BOWLING: T Panyangara 2.3-0-28-1, B Vitori 4-0-24-1, C Mpofu 3-0-32-0, S Williams 4-0-33-1, A Cremer 4-0-28-2, Sikandar Raza 2-0-23-0
TOSS: Zimbabwe
UMPIRES: Ahsan Raza, Shozab Raza
TV UMPIRE: Ahmed Shahab
MATCH REFEREE: Azhar Khan