Harare: Off-spinner Bilal Asif outlined his potential value to Pakistan ahead of upcoming games against England as his five-wicket haul clinched the third and decisive ODI against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Got him: Pakistan's Bilal Asif (centre) celebrates with teammates the wicket of Zimbabwe's Sikandar Raza in Harare yesterday. Pic:AP/PTI
Playing in just his second ODI, Asif decimated the Zimbabwe line-up with figures of 5-25 as the hosts were bowled out for 161, then scored 38 as Pakistan chased their target in 34 overs to win by seven wickets.
Zimbabwe had made an impressive start after losing the toss and being asked to bat, with openers Chamu Chibhabha and Richmond Mutumbami putting on 89 for the first wicket at a steady pace.
But Asif broke the stand in his fifth over when he had Chibhabha caught and bowled for 48, and then went on to take four further wickets in his last three overs as Zimbabwe sank to 133-7.
"It was only his (Bilal's) second game, but he bowled with great maturity. Before this series we had a plan that we wanted to test some new blood and it is very good sign that they have performed and played with confidence. We have achieved our goals from this series," said regular Pakistan captain Azhar Ali.
Imad Wasim also inflicted damage as he took 3-36 on his return to the side, and the only Zimbabwean wicket that did not fall to spin came with fast bowler Mohammad Irfan having Mutumbami caught behind for 67.
Zimbabwe 161 in 38.5 overs (R Mutumbami 67, C Chibhabha 48; B Asif 5-25, I Wasim 3-36) lost to Pakistan 162-3 in 34 overs (A Shafiq 38*, B Asif 38; S Malik 34; T Panyangara 1-22) by seven wickets