Babar Azam plays a shot for boundary during the 1st Twenty20 match against Zimbabwe at the Pindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday. AP
Captain Babar Azam hit a fluent half century and spurred Pakistan to a six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the first Twenty20 international match at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium on Saturday.
Azam proved yet again why he is one of the top batsmen in white-ball cricket with an attractive 55-ball 82 to anchor Pakistan's chase of a modest 157-run target in 18.5 overs.
Mohammad Rizwan tries to run out Elton Chigumbura. AP
The win gives Pakistan a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and a 12th straight win over Zimbabwe in all Twenty20 international cricket.
Mohammad Hafeez scored 36 off 32 balls and together with Azam shared an 80-run stand as fast bowler Blessing Muzarabani finished with 2-26.
Earlier, 20-year-old Wesley Madhevere hit nine fours and a six to score an unbeaten 70 but Pakistan's pace still restricted Zimbabwe at 156-6.
Babar Azam and Chamu Chibhabha pose with trophy of Twenty20 series. AP
Elton Chigumbura, who will retire after the series ends on Tuesday, made a quickfire 21 off 13 balls, but Zimbabwe's top order struggled to accelerate against fast bowlers Haris Rauf (2-25), Wahab Riaz (2-37) and Mohammad Hasnain (1-25). The second match will be played on Sunday.
Pakistan managed 149-7 in their 20 overs with their in-form wicketkeeper batsman Rizwan anchoring the innings after they were sent in to bat.
After the loss of recalled Sharjeel Khan for 18 off the last ball of the fourth over, Rizwan and Azam put on 126 runs for the second wicket before the captain was out for 52 in the third ball of the final over.
Azam became the 11th overall player to score 2,000 T20I runs and also took another record from Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who previously held the record for scoring the 2,000 runs in 56 innings.
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