After the close finish in Bulawayo , Pakistan were determined to put Zimbabwe in their place, and they turned all the screws. Their bowling tied down the Zimbabwe top order so tightly that, although they kept their wickets intact for the most part, they were never able to set a testing target, while the tourists’ opening pair mastered the best that Zimbabwe ’s bowlers could provide and set up a new record. This was only the fifth time that Zimbabwe has been beaten by as many as ten wickets in an ODI.
Zimbabwe won the toss on a typically sunny September morning and decided to bat. The Pakistani seamers made the best possible use of the small amount of help they had, with Sohail Tanvir and Junaid Khan bowling with great purpose and accuracy. Zimbabwe struggled for runs, and in the fourth over Chamu Chibhabha was caught at extra cover for 9, as he tried to break the shackles.
After ten overs the score was only 22 for one. Vusi Sibanda, who scored only 7 off his first 28 balls, was dropped at mid-on off a huge skier as he hit out in desperation, the fielder perhaps having the sun in his eyes. In the 14th over Sibanda did succeed in pulling Aizaz Cheema for six, but then skied a pull to the keeper, departing for 14; Zimbabwe were 36 for two.
Hamilton Masakadza was just as laborious, taking 41 balls to reach double figures. The team 50 only came up in the 18th over, but they did have some good fortune when Junaid injured himself and temporarily left the field. The occasional seamer Younus Khan came on in his place, and the batsmen were able to take 11 runs from it. This gave them some much-needed impetus, and soon Masakadza and Brendan Taylor were both batting confidently, bringing up the 100 in the 26th over. They added 104 in 24 overs before Taylor , two balls after reaching 50, uppercut a ball to third man.
Briefly Masakadza and Tatenda Taibu hit out, but then Masakadza was brilliantly run out by Misbah-ul-Haq from extra cover for 68; 176 for four in the 44th over. The final part of the innings was sadly predictable for Zimbabwe : ill-timed hitting and running, interspersed with a rapid fall of wickets, especially run-outs. Taibu went for 26 attempting a big hit, and despite a creditable 14 off Tanvir’s last over, the total finished at 225 for six. Tanvir took two for 33 off nine overs and Junaid one for only 29 off ten. The one positive about Zimbabwe ’s slow start was that they did keep wickets in hand.
When Zimbabwe took the field, Chris Mpofu and Brian Vitori bowled superbly in tandem, but with a comparatively small target the batsmen, Mohammad Hafeez and Imran Farhat, were not under great pressure. They scored 9 runs off five overs, and then runs began to come more steadily, aided now and then by some disappointing fielding from the home side. The later bowlers were unable to concern the batsmen at all, and the 100 came up in the 22nd over, neither batsman breaking a sweat. Hafeez was the faster scorer, but he had more of the bowling than his partner. The only semblance of a chance given, apart from a couple of difficult run-outs, was when Hafeez was 27 and skied a hook; Mpofu, running round the boundary, made a superb effort but could not hold it.
Hafeez reached his third ODI century off 132 balls when he pulled a ball from Raymond Price into the stand at midwicket. Farhat was then on 65, out of the running for a century but supporting his partner well. Hafeez went on the charge, eager to finish the match quickly, and took 18 off an over from Vitori to take the total past 200 and past Pakistan ’s previous first-wicket record of 204 by Saeed Anwar and Rameez Raja. The match ended with almost eight overs to spare, Hafeez finishing with 139 off 147 balls and Farhat 75 off 106. Price alone of the main bowlers conceded less than five an over and it was a disappointment that Vitori was unable to find his best Harare form, although his opening spell was good. There was not a lot Zimbabwe could do against Pakistan in this form, but they can improve.