Harare: Ahmad Shehzad’s second half-century in as many days propelled Pakistan to a 2-0 series win over Zimbabwe in a two-match Twenty20 International sereies at Harare Sports Club on Saturday. The visitors beat Zimbabwe by 19 runs in the second game.
Shehzad’s 70 on Friday set Pakistan up for a 25-run victory in the first game of the tour, and he followed that up with 98 not out on Saturday as Pakistan posted 179 for one after being put in to bat by Zimbabwe.
Although Pakistan made a circumspect start to the innings, scoring 37 for one in the opening six overs as Nasir Jamshed was dismissed for 23, Shehzad opened up beautifully from the ninth over and regularly found the boundary.
Pakistan captain Mohammad Hafeez rotated the strike effectively at the other end as the pair built an unbroken 143-run stand for the second wicket, then went to his half-century with a huge six over midwicket off Shingirai Masakadza.
Shehzad struck six sixes en route to the highest score by a Pakistani batsman in Twenty20 internationals, but missed an opportunity to reach three figures when he could only manage a single from the final ball of the innings.
Hafeez finished unbeaten on 54 from 40 deliveries, as Zimbabwe’s bowlers all struggled against a commanding Pakistani batting performance.
Meanwhile, former Pakistan captain Rashid Latif said Pakistan cricket authorities should not force leg-spinner Danish Kaneria to plead guilty to spot-fixing until he has exhausted all legal options available to him.
A disciplinary panel of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) banned Kaneria for life last year after he was convicted of luring Essex team-mate Mervyn Westfield in to conceding a set number of runs in exchange for money during a 2009 country match.
Kaneria last week launched another appeal in a London commercial court against the ban after earlier appeals to the ECB, first to overturn, then to reduce the punishment, were rejected.
The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB), possibly mindful of its reputation in the wake of a series of fixing scandals, has urged Kaneria to end his legal battle and confess.
But Latif said questions remained over Kaneria’s conviction. “I request the PCB not to force Kaneria to accept his guilt until his appeal at all forums is not decided,” the former wicketkeeper said at a press conference.
During the British proceedings against Kaneria, it was alleged that an Indian bookmaker named Anu Bhatt paid 6000 pounds to Westfield in a deal brokered by the leg-spinner.