Pakistan Clinch T20 Series, After A Thriller.
24.5.2015, Gaddafi Stadium, Lahore. In front of noisy capacity crowd Pakistan took on Zimbabwe in the 2nd Twenty20 International. The game turned out to be an entertaining classic.
The final line up for Pakistan was: Captain Shahid Afridi, Imam Wasim, Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Nauman Anwar, Mohammad Sami, Mukhtar Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Rizwan.
Mohammad Hafiz, Wahab Riaz and Sarfraz Ahmed were not selected for this game.
Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to bat.
Zimbabwe once again batted very well, finishing on an impressive 175/3. With S.C. Williams making 58 not out from 32 balls.
Pakistan’s bowling was fairly average, with only Shoaib Malik keeping the runs down with 1/23 off 4 overs. Mohammad Sami was slammed for 4 sixes, with 3 coming in a row.
In reply Pakistan got off to a brisk start, but then wickets tumbled. Once again opener Mukhtar Ahmed stood out with 62 off 40 balls. This follows his 83 from 45 balls in the first match. Mukhtar Ahmed is truly a great selection for Pakistan. He is a fine attacking opener.
Umar Akmal added 30 off 21 balls. Then came the usual batting collapse, falling to 164/8.
With just 1 over remaining, Bilawal Bhatti was under pressure. However he remained cool and hit a 6 off the 1st ball, then a dot ball off the 2nd, 2 runs off the 3rd ball, then hit a four off the 4th ball to secure a 2 wicket win for Pakistan.
Credit goes to the Zimbabwean team for a great performance, taking the match to the final over in a close, tense finish.
It certainly provided the Lahore crowd and the whole of Pakistan something to shout about.
I don’t think the Pakistani supporters were too concerned about the IPL final between Mumbai Indians and Chennai Super Kings, happening at the same time at Edens Gardens, Kolkata, India.
Also a well poised Test match between England and New Zealand at Lords.
We had witnessed the safe homecoming of cricket back to Pakistani soil, what could be more important?