LAHORE: Brilliant hitting in the last over by fast bowler Bilawal Bhatti handed Pakistan a close 2-wicket win over Zimbabwe in the second Twenty20 and 2-0 series victory here at the Gaddafi Stadium Sunday.
Bhatti hit a sixer on the first ball of the last over and a boundary on fourth in a nail-biting finish to the match. He was given a special “most colourful innings of the match” award.
Mukhtar Ahmed, who scored a fiery innings of 62 runs, grabbed his second “man of the match” award in as many matches.
Mukhtar, dropped on 15 and 55, holed out at mid-on before Shoaib Malik, Shahid Afridi – who both made seven each – and Umar Akmal (30) fell to leave Pakistan needing 24 in the last 4.1 overs.
Anwar Ali (2) and Mohammad Rizwan (6) fell in the space of five balls before Bhatti´s heroics sealed the win for Pakistan.
The 2-0 win keeps Pakistan’s fifth place in the Twenty20 rankings intact while Zimbabwe remained as low as 12th.
Speaking at the Awards ceremony, Pakistani captain Shahid Afridi lauded youngsters’ performance including Mukhtar and Bilawal Bhatti in winning the first T20 series on home soil in six years.
He also thanked the fans for turning out in large numbers at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium.
Chasing down 176 runs target set by the Zimbabwe, Pakistan were on-track to achieve a comfortable victory at one point with 95/2. However, signature middle-order collapse turned the match into a real close contest with Pakistan getting home with only 2 balls to spare and same number of wickets in hand.
Earlier, Sean Williams hit a rapid 32-ball 58 not out with seven boundaries and a six and opener Vusi Sibanda 46-ball 49 to help Zimbabwe to a solid 175-3 after winning the toss.
Sami, Afridi and Malik took a wicket apiece.
Despite scorching temperatures of 42 degrees Celsius, a capacity crowd was witnessed today like on Friday for the first match of the two-match series.
“We are very excited. I am here to support Pakistan as well as the Zimbabwe team,” said one Pakistani fan, who was waiting in line to enter the stadium.
A heavy contingent of police personnel was deployed at the stadium to thwart any untoward incident.
Pakistan had not hosted any international cricket since terrorist attacks on the Sri Lankan team bus in Lahore in 2009.
The two teams will now play three one-day internationals on May 26, 29 and 31 at the same venue.