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Pakistan win by 5 wickets and three balls to spare. After Ahmed Shehzad and the robust hitting of Mukhtar Ahmed set the hosts on course for a comfortable win, Pakistan nearly made a mess of it by losing quick wickets. Credit to the Zimbabwean slow bowlers for making a contest out of this. The crowd surely had their money’s worth on this historic occasion. Plenty of boundaries, big scores, some late drama and a Pakistan win. It is off to Sunday now.

Live Score Pakistan 173/5 in 19.3 overs Panyangara will bowl the last over and Malik digs out a good yorker to long-on, batsmen complete two runs comfortably. Panyangara attempts a yorker again and this time, it is an absolute peach and the stumps are rattled and there are nerves all over Pakistan. Afridi comes in and as though it was straight out of a script, bashes a full toss straight down the ground and the ball races to the fence and that is the end of the historic match at Lahore. FOUR S Malik b Panyangara 7 (14)

Live Score Pakistan 167/4 in 19 overs Mpofu is handed the ball. Can Zimbabwe stifle Pakistan. Malik trickles the ball down to third man for a single. Single for Sarfraz on the leg side with the ball swinging back in. Zimbabwe players thought they had a case for an leg before.  The third ball is a slow one and down the leg side. It had apparently taken the brush of the pad. The batsmen scamper through for the fourth. Malik is struggling as his heave goes nowhere. Huge team talk from the Zimbabweans as they smell blood. 7 needed from 7. Full toss and yet again, Malik struggles to get bat on ball. Single to keep strike as it is six that is required from the last over.

Live Score Pakistan 162/4 in 18 overs Vitori comes on and Shoaib Malik continues to look rusty. Two dot balls and he gets a single down to third man of the third ball. Good short delivery into the batsman and there goes another one as Pakistan stumble in getting over the line. Umar tries the ball on the leg-side. Leading edge and it is straight to cover. Sarfraz is promoted to finish things off and he starts off with a defensive prod. Terrific over from the left-armer U Akmal  c Sibanda b Vitori 4 (3)

Live Score Pakistan 161/3 in 17 overs Shoaib Malik is comes into the side after a long time. Hafeez steps from Williams’s bowling and heaves the ball over long-on and it sails over long-on and it a huge maximum. SIX. Malik is settling in with dot balls here and then run for a single. He is looking rusty here and Cremer gets another breakthrough as the ball beats Hafeez and it is through the keeper. Umar Akmal starts his home debut with a pull over mid-wicket FOUR M Hafeez c Coventry b Cremer 12 (11)

Live Score Pakistan 142/2 in 15 overs Cremer is handed the ball as it spin to lead the way for Zimbabwe. The batsmen cross for two singles  and then Mukhtar goes for glory again and and goes over the top and cannot get the ball on the meat of the bat. It is straight to long-on’s throat and Zimbabwe get another breakthrough. End of a blistering knock!!!! Mukhtar Ahmed c Mutumbami b Cremer 83 (45)

Live Score Pakistan 142/1 in 14 overs  Can Mukhtar get to a hundred? Williams comes into the attack and Shehzad’s delicate sweep and the ball stops on him. The two batsmen work out a quick couple. shehzad makes room again, one time too many from the looks of it as the ball lands straight to point. A breakthrough for Zimbabwe to save this match from being an embarrassment. There come Hafeez and he nearly chops the second ball onto his stumps.  A Shehzad c Mutumbami b Williams 55 (39)

Live Score Pakistan 140/0 in 13 overs Mpofu, after a dreadful first over comes into the attack. Batsmen seem to have taken a break from the carnage and eke out just one single from the first three balls. The comes the inevitable bad ball as the ball is short and wide and it is struck with some power to the cover fence. FOUR. Then comes a lovely shot! Mukhtar stands on his toes and lofts the short ball over the bowler’s head. Sensational straight hit. SIX. Short ball – a good one, to finish the innings.

Live Score Pakistan 129/0 in 12 overs Pakistan are in cruise control and may romp home in 15 overs at this rate. Vitori is handed the ball. Batsmen continue to play their shots. It is a single of the first ball and two dot balls. The first good delivery from the Zimbabwean bowlers comes out as Vitori angles one into Shehzad’s face. The batsman takes his head out at the right time. The bowler follows it up with a bad ball and the ball is worked fine for a boundary on the leg-side. FOUR. FIFTY for Shehzad. He keeps strike.

Live Score Pakistan 123/0 in 11 overs Raza gets another over as Chigumbura finds answers to stem this run-glut. It is simply too easy for Pakistan. The batsmen work the first two balls in the deep for singles. The third ball sees Shehzad make room and show attacking intent but it is only a single. Fourth ball, Mukhtar steps out and wallops the ball over long-on. Huge! SIX. It is another big heave to long-off but it is cut off. Single and Shehzad caps the over by using his feet himself and going over the bowler’s head. FOUR

Live Score Pakistan 109/0 in 10 overs Cremer continues and singles of the first two balls — both on the off-side — brings the hundred-run stand. Pakistan are running away with this. Shehzad lofts the ball on the off-side and the ball is safe. Mukhtar gets the strike and yet again, the opener throws caution to the wind and the ball intercepts the deep fielders. FOUR

Live Score Pakistan 98/0 in 9 overs Sikandar Raza comes into the attack with his off-spin. Shehzad tries a reverse sweep and it doesn’t come off. Single. The length is straight and full and and batsmen work the ball on the leg-side and get four singles. Fifth ball, Shehzad makes room and expertly finds the gap on the off-side and the ball reaches the fence to the point boundary. FOUR

Live Score Pakistan 89/0 in 8 overs What a way to bring up your fifty!!! Mukhtar goes over the top from Graeme Cremer’s first ball and the ball clears the long-off fielder and it is a SIX. Huge cheers from the Pakistan dressing room. The batsmen play sensible cricket after that resort to singles. Shehzad uses his feet of the last ball, dabs it around for a single and keeps strike.

Live Score Pakistan 79/0 in 7 overs Williams is handed another over and he is changing pace well and it is tidy stuff so far. Four singles of the over and just when the over was going well, Shehzad shows his class by dabbing the ball down fine and it is a four. Despairing dive by tghe fielder but in vain. FOUR

Live Score Pakistan 71/0 in 6 overs Panyangara comes back into the attack to restore some parity to the proceedings. Shehzad takes a single of the first ball and the strike is returned back. Shehzad then uses his wrists beautifully and flicks the ball a la Virat Kohli style and the ball goes one bounce and into the fence. FOUR. Single of the next ball. The fifth ball of the over – rubbish delivery on the leg side with fine-lef up and Ahmed carves out another boundary in the region. FOUR

Live Score Pakistan 60/0 in 5 overs Sean Williams’ spinners into the attack. Dot ball to start proceedings and then Shezhad steps down the wicket and the ball goes over the bowler’s head. One bounce and into the fence. FOUR. The next ball has Shehzad stepping down the track with even more conviction and the ball sails over the fence. SIX. Zimbabwe are put to the sword here. Yorker of the next ball and it is good comeback from Williams. Shehzad works the fifth ball of the over for a single. Dot ball to end the over.

Live Score Pakistan 49/0 in 4 overs Vitori continues and Zimbabwe need a wicket as runs are coming thick and fast. The bowler is changing pace and keeping it tight. Mukhtar on the defensive. Two dot balls. The fourth ball is banged in short and the opener throws his bat at it again. Over mid-wicket and FOUR. the next ball is full but Mukhtar digs the ball out and the ball is hammered beyond mid-on. FOUR. Zimbabwe can’t stop the flurry of boundaries here. It is a good short ball from Vitiori but the ball beats the keeper, goes fine and into the fence. FOUR

Live Score Pakistan 36/0 in 3 overs  Chris Mpofu is handed the ball. The medium-pacer has made a comeback in the side. Slow delivery down the leg-side and Shehzad easily dabs the lose delivery fine and it is a FOUR. Down deep fine-leg. Single from Shehzad of the next ball as Mpofu generates some pace to get the ball into the batsman. With fielders inside the circle, Mukhtar is going all guns blazing here. Short on the off-side and the ball is lofted behind point. FOUR. The ball is straight into middle stump and the ball is flicked fine, another FOUR. Same delivery and same result FOUR. Slow delivery greets the batsman of the last ball and Mukhtar goes over the top, over deep mid-wicket. FOUR. Terrific batting as it it four fours in a row.

Live Score Pakistan 15/0 in 2 overs Left-armer Vitori comes into the attack and the batsmen are taking it easy. Just two singles of the first two balls but Mukhtar is going big sans any footwork. Swing and miss for consecutive deliveries. Change in strategy for the rookie Pakistan opener and he dabs the ball around and good running between the batsmen yields a couple. Dot ball and that is the end of a tidy over.

Live Score Pakistan 11/0 in 1 over Mukhtar Ahmed and Ahmed Shehzad start  well and Mukhtar Ahmed has blazed away. Panyangara strays in line and and then batsmen spanks the bowler on the off-side for two boundaries. The bolwer is under pressure and Ahmed keeps strike of the last ball with a single. Cracking start for the home side.

End of Zimbabwe’s innings

Live Score Zimbabwe 172/6 in 20 overs Wahab will bowl the final over and the first ball is dug out for a single. The second ball hits the good length area and Chigumbura goes for yet another wild swing and he misses and the bails for a walk. Bowled and it is the end of a fine knock. Graeme Cremer comes to the crease and heaves for all glory. Wahab drops an absolute sitter!! It was comical. Zimbabwe finish modestly but it is a good, handsome total E Chigumbura b Wahab 54 (35)

Live Score Zimbabwe 167/5 in 19 overs Sami continues and it is a dot-ball. The second ball is short and Chigumbura pulls effortlessly and it is a massive hit. The ball sails over the fence and it is into the stands and the skipper reaches his half-century!!!  SIX Sami delivers it full and it is a single to third man. Sami comes back well as he changes pace and puts Mutumbami under considerate amount of pressure. Two dot balls and he keeps the strike.

Live Score Zimbabwe 159/5 in 18 overs Wahab is into the attack and starts off with a wide down the leg-side. The left-armer continues to target the rib age of the batsmen even at this stage. The fourth ball is a slow one outside off stump and Chigumbura cuts in style and it is a boundary. FOUR. Terrible work  by Bhatti in the deep as it is yet another misfield. The batsman pulls the short one and it is the same result. FOUR more. slightly fuller and the ball is over extra-cover and the fielders have no chance again. FOUR and Wahab is being taken to the cleaners here. Stunning from Masakadza who keeps the strike.

Live Score Zimbabwe 142/5 in 17 overs  Sami fails to complete his hat-trick but is tidy and full and then batsmen can do nothing more than just blocking the balls out for singles. The fourth one is short and Raza makes room and goes for the long hop. The ball goes miles in the air before just clearing the fence at deep mid-wicket. SIX. Then, the pacer follows it with a wide on the off-side. Raza then carves the ball over extra cover and the ball reaches the boundary. FOUR. Last ball is a full-toss and the long-on fielder does wonderfully well to pouch it. Wicket! Sikandar Raza c Ahmed Shehzad b Sami 17 (12)

Live Score Zimbabwe 129/4 in 16 overs The struggling Bilawal Bhatti is handed the ball and he starts off with a slow bouncer. Chigumbura is yet again smart on his feet and dabs the ball fine for a four. FOUR. Afridi’s desperate dive at fine-leg goes in vain. Two singles and then the bowler oversteps of the third and it is a free hit. A yorker is attempted and the Zimbabwean captain slogs the ball behind point. FOUR. The next ball is infact a good yorker but the ball comes off Chigumbura’s inside edge and it is a FOUR. A productive over for Zimbabwe.

Live Score Zimbabwe 114/4 in 15 overs Shoaib Malik gets another over. He has been tidy and the ball has gripped the surface, making the Zimbabwe batsmen uncomfortable. Yet again, the batsmen are a picture of caution and can only dab the ball around and sneak singles of the first three balls. Chigumbura steps down the track and smashes the ball straight to Umar Akmal at short mid-wicket. A boundary saved as the fielder does well. Fifth and sixth balls yields two more singles and Chigumbura keeps strike. Just six of the over.

Live Score Zimbabwe 108/4 in 14 overs Anwar Ali comes back into the attack and he starts off with a short ball — Pakistan’s theme for the evening. Chigumbura gently lofts the ball over mid-wicket and it is only a single. Pakistan have won back honours here and have choked Zimbabwe in this phase. Chigumbura then hammers the ball past cover of the fourth ball and it beats the fielders have no chance. FOUR. Raza keeps the strike.

Live Score Zimbabwe 100/4 in 13 overs Shoaib Malik continues and it is three singles of the first three balls from the batsmen. All worked to the deep. It’s a breakthrough for Pakistan. Williams tries another sweep but only gets a top-edge and goes only as far as Shahid Afridi at short-fine leg. Sikandar Raza is the new man and he sees out the last two balls.  S Williams c Afridi b Malik 16 (15)

Live Score Zimbabwe 97/3 in 12 overs Afridi comes on again and Williams shows great improvisation to reverse-sweep the ball and it reaches the fence behind point. FOUR. Good cricket from Williams here as his excellent running and busy nature at the crease is rattling Pakistan. He takes a couple and his partner is giving him good company Alas! Sarfraz misses another stumping and it is of Williams.

Live Score Zimbabwe 87/3 in 11 overs Shoaib Malik is into the attack and he attacks the batsmen around the wicket. Chigumbura dabs the ball fine for a single on the leg-side. Williams then chips the ball over cover but it is a well executed one and it is a couple for the batsmen. The left-hander sweeps handsomely off the next ball for a single. Chigumbura steps down the wicket but it is a clever ball, into the batsmen and Sarfraz misses a stumping there.

Live Score Zimbabwe 83/3 in 10 overs Once again, Afridi struggles with his rhythm and the ball is cut away in style for a boundary by Chigumbura. The Pakistan captain is tidy otherwise and almost gets his opposite number out of an off-spinner in the fourth ball. Tidy over otherwise.

Live Score Zimbabwe 76/3 in 9 overs Wahab is into the attack and fielding woes haunt Pakistan again as the short ball is hammered over cover Bilawal’s desperate dive is nowhere close to the ball. FOUR. The next delivery though is a peach of a short ball and the ball takes the handle and Sarfraz takes the ball safely behind the stumps. The umpire raises the finger. Wahab brings back memories of the world cup but it is a wide ball that welcomes Sean Williams to the crease. The southpaw struggles for two balls before dabbing the ball to third man and takes a couple. Excellent running from the batsmen. C Coventry c Sarfraz b Wahab 14 (7)

Live Score Zimbabwe 69/2 in 8 overs Two new batsmen at the crease and Afridi comes on! The crowd chant Af-ridi and he starts off with an excellent yorker. Coventry makes a comeback into the side and makes his presence felt with a delicate reverse sweep. FOUR. Then the off-spinner is wide and Coventry lifted over cover. FOUR more. Single to keep the strike for the veteran.

Live Score Zimbabwe 58/2 in 7 overs Sami comes in and the wide delivery is spanked through the covers. This time, Afridi has a sweeper and it is only a single. The powerplay is done. The 36-year-old pacer is varying his pace well in this over as the batsmen are restricted to taking singles of the first three balls. An awkward short delivery greets sibanda and it is a couple on the leg side. Then, it is the first wicket for Pakistan as a huge roar goes around the stadium. Short ball and Sibanda pulls and Sarfraz Ahmed takes a well-judged catch from behind the stumps. Sami goes from zero to hero here. Masakadza chops the ball onto his stumps!!! Two in two and it is a big, big wicket V Sibanda c Sarfraz Ahmed b Sami 13 (15), H Masakadza b Sami 43 (27)

Live Score Zimbabwe 54/0 in 6 overs Bilawal continues and he strays on the leg side and the ball is easily put away by Masakadza. FOUR.  Pulled away in style. Hafeez showing his fielding prowess again and saves a certain boundary from short-cover. The batsmen take a single and Masakadza, surprisingly slows down as he makes his way to the non-striker’s end. He narrowly escapes the direct hit but that was lethargic cricket. Width offered from Bhatti and it is cut away with ease by Sibanda. FOUR more. It was gone for all money as but Hafeez’s throw misses the stumps. Sibanda was not even in the frame!

Live Score Zimbabwe 40/0 in 5 overs  Huge cheers welcome Wahab Riaz as he steams in. Nasty full toss of the second ball and the ball smashes Sibanda’s glove. Wahab is generating good pace and the fourth one is a wide down the leg side. Another short ball and it is pulled away in style and the ball is well cut of at deep mid-wicket by Hafeez and and he saves a run. Painfully slow ball from Wahab and Masakadza gently dabs the ball behind the reach of ‘keeper Sarfraz Ahmed. FOUR. He keeps strike

Live Score Zimbabwe 32/0 after 4 overs  Bilawal Bhatti comes on as the runs are coming rapidly in this fast outfield. Good start by the bowler  and the third delivery in the over has Ahmed Shehzad making a mess of a simple take at point and it is a single. Mayhem here as the batsmen scamper for a single again and Sibanda and Bilawal Bhatti collide in mid-pitch and they are down and receive treatment. Masakadza is on song. He makes room and pulls the ball over deep fine-leg. SIX. Another short one and the batsman dabs the ball and it looked like it would be caught but the two fielders running in just fall short.

Live Score Zimbabwe 23/0 after 3 overs Anwar Ali continues and it is a leg-bye single of the first ball. Yet again, it is tidy from the pacer before the third delivery is pulled away towards mid-wicket and Mukhtar Ahmed dives to keep it to a single. Masakadza is is superb touch here as he picks up the slow delivery to scoop the ball over short-fine leg. Cheeky and FOUR. He then comes down the track and blocks it out again. Another slow ball and this time, it is square of the short-fine leg fielder. FOUR more

Live Score Zimbabwe 12/0 after 2 overs  This is interesting. Mohammad Sami, after an eternity, makes his way back into the side. It is a bad welcome for the pacer as the lose delivery outside off-stump is spanked to the fence by Masakadza. FOUR. short delivery next up and it is at a comfortable height and same result. Pulled over mid-on. FOUR, one bounce and into the fence. Still banging it short and this time, there is some movement away from the batsman. Play and miss of the fourth ball. Single down to third man of the fifth and Sibanda keeps the strike.

Live Score Zimbabwe 1/0 after 1 over The six-year wait is over and it is Anwar Ali who will start proceedings for Pakistan. The ball is angled down the leg side and Hamilton Masakadza fails to get it away. Good line from Anwar Ali as the batsman refuses to get things away. Three dot balls and Mazakadza and Sibanda scamper for a risky single of the fourth ball. Tidy over as Sibanda is cautious.

The newcomers of Pakistan will have to wait to make their debut. No surprises with the Zimbabwean lineup, who are enjoying a huge wave of support from the Pakistani public.

Here are the lineups:

Pakistan Shahid Afridi (c), Sarfraz Ahmed, Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Sami, Mukhtar Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz.

Zimbabwe: Elton Chigumbura (c), Sikandar Raza, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Hamilton Masakadza, Christopher Mpofu, Richmond Mutumbami, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusi Sibanda, Brian Vitori, Sean Williams

Match will start soon as the countdown begins for the first ball to be bowled. It is heartening to see a massive crowd turn up for the game. Massive!! The photos below speaks volumes on what this match and series mean to the fans.

Zimbabweans have won the toss and elected to bat first. Squads will be announced soon.

After a gap of six years, international cricket finally returns to Pakistan as the hosts welcome Zimbabwe for the first of the two-match T20 series at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium on Friday. It is the return of fanfare to the South Asian country after the shocking terrorist attack on Sri Lankan team in 2009. Pakistan will play on home soil following a mediocre World Cup campaign and dismal tour of Bangladesh. The team led by Shahid Afridi will looking to put things back on track. Also Read- #CricketComesHome: Pakistan all set to stage international cricket after six years.

It is a historic day in Pakistan’s cricket history as the gruesome bloodshed and violence that marred the game will take backseat and the game will do the talking at the Gadaffi Stadium in Lahore. For months now, there is a lot of talk about the series and it has culminated with Zimbabwe finally giving their nod for the series.  The players arrived in the bustling city of Pakistan a few days ago and were given Z level security as they made their way to their hotel. Also Read: Catch the Preview of the 1st T20I here

Teams:

Pakistan Shahid Afridi (c) , Sarfraz Ahmed†, Ahmed Shehzad, Anwar Ali, Bilawal Bhatti, Hammad Azam, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Hafeez, Mohammad Rizwan, Mohammad Sami, Mukhtar Ahmed, Nauman Anwar, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Wahab Riaz

Zimbabwe Elton Chigumbura (c), Chamu Chibhabha, Charles Coventry, Graeme Cremer, Criag Ervine, Roy Kaia, Hamilton Masakadza, Chris Mpofu, Tawanda Mupariwa, Richmond Mutumbami, Tinashe Panyangara, Vusi Sibanda, Sikandar Raza, Prosper Utseya, Brian Vitori, Sean Williams