Pakistan dominated with bat and ball to ease to a 201-run win over Zimbabwe in the first ODI in Bulawayo on Friday.
Opener Imam-ul-Haq cracked a fine century while leg spinner Shadab Khan finished with a four-for to keep Pakistan on top throughout the first of five ODIs.
Imam, nephew of former captain and current selector Inzamam-ul-Haq, hit 128 as Pakistan posted 308-7 in their 50 overs. Thereafter, 19-year-old leg-spinner Shadab derailed Zimbabwe’s innings by picking up 4-32 and dismissing the hosts in the 35th over for 107.
Imam’s fellow opener Fakhar Zaman continued his fine form by hitting 60, while Asif Ali made a quick-fire 46 from 25 balls on debut to boost Pakistan’s innings.
Pakistan started slowly in overcast conditions with Imam playing and missing on several occasions. He was also lucky to survive an edge off pacer Blessing Muzarabani with the ball falling just short of second slip.
Imam dug deep while Zaman batted freely as Pakistan added 113 for the first wicket inside 25 overs.
Imam-ul-Haq is first Pakistan batsman to score 2 centuries in the first 5 ODIs. Overall he is 8th batsman. #ZimvPak— Mazher Arshad (@MazherArshad) July 13, 2018
Zaman reached his fourth fifty of the tour before giving a return catch to debutant spinner Liam Roche. Thereafter, Imam changed gears to bring up a 109-ball ton in the 37th over.
The hosts took wickets towards the end with Tendai Chatara and Donald Tiripano picking up two apiece as Pakistan lost five wickets in the the final 10 overs.
Any hopes of a Zimbabwe fightback were quickly extinguished as Pakistan’s seamers took the top five wickets within the first 15 overs.
Debutant Ryan Murray finished unbeaten on 32 to help ensure Zimbabwe crossed the 100-run mark.
However, leg-spinner Shadab ran through the lower order to snare four scalps and Zimbabwe were dismissed for their the lowest ODI total at the Queens Sports Club. The teams face off once again in the second match of the series at the same venue on Sunday.
Ahmed Shehzad is expected to be suspended and charged after the Pakistan Cricket Board confirmed the opening batsman tested positive for a banned substance.
On Tuesday afternoon, the PCB tweeted: “Independent Review Board report on doping case has been received by PCB. Cricketer Ahmad Shahzad has tested positive for a banned substance. PCB will issue charge sheet today.”
Last month the PCB confirmed that a Pakistan national team player had failed a doping test during a domestic match but did not reveal their identity. The test reports were sent to India for a re-check which caused the delay.
Shehzad, 26, was part of the T20 squad which toured Ireland in June and has played 13 Tests, 81 ODIs and 57 T20Is.
Pakistan started the series on 131 points and ended on 132, with just one defeat in the tri-series that also included Zimbabwe.
The last couple of weeks saw an interesting fight for the No1 ranking with Australia, India and England also being in the hunt.
India won their three-match T20 series against England 2-1 on Sunday and rose to No2 in the rankings, up from third on 123 points to second on 124.
Australia are now down to third in the table with 122 points, down from 126.
Number 1 Ranking is retained, 9th consecutive T20I series win for Pakistan. 🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜🤜— Najam Sethi (@najamsethi) July 8, 2018