Pakistan wrapped up the T20I series at the earliest opportunity, thrashing Zimbabwe by eight wickets in the second of three games. It was the bowlers who set it up, with legspinner Usman Qadir"s sensational spell the most exciting aspect for Pakistan. His three wickets, combined with just as many by Haris Rauf, dented Zimbabwe early, never allowing partnerships and restricting them to 134.
That chase was a cakewalk for the hosts. Haider Ali and Babar Azam made short work of it, Haider bringing up his second T20I half-century as Babar cantered to his second in as many games. The chase was done with five overs to spare, with disappointingly little fight put up by Chamu Chibhabha"s side.
For the first time on this tour a team won the toss and put the opposition in, Pakistan perhaps wishing to repeat the performance they put in yesterday. What transpired, instead, was an even more crushing performance with the ball. Zimbabwe got off to a bit of a flyer, racking up 36 in four overs, but lost Brendan Taylor and the hopelessly out of form Chibhabha early, and that set the tone for the kind of innings it would be. All but two of their batsmen got into double figures, but only one managed to cross 30, with the starts they got quickly snuffed out by a ruthless bowling performance.
Qadir"s sensational spell began inauspiciously with a half-tracker that the precocious Wesley Madhevere pulled away for six, but that was the only mistake he made all day. Varying his length, pace, flight and googly effectively kept the batsmen guessing, and he never once failed to execute whatever appeared to be on his mind.
Both the legspinner and the wrong "un got prodigious turn, discomfiting the batsmen"s footwork and forcing them to try and see out his overs, which built even more pressure and resulted in wickets, either for him or from the other end. When, in his final over, it looked like Elton Chigumbura had the measure of him, smacking him down the ground for six and then sweeping him for four, Qadir struck back with his final ball, beating the batsman in the flight, drawing him out of his crease, giving Rizwan an easy stumping. He finished with 3 for 23; if anything, those figures didn"t flatter him enough.
More to follow...