Tuesday, 26 May 2015, 09:45am
Bhatti propels Pakistan to victory
A batting collapse saw Pakistan go from 95 for two to 161 for eight, in pursuit of 176, and Imad Wasim and Bhatti were the pair at the batting strip ahead of the final over, with 12 still required.
Bhatti, 23, is chiefly a medium-fast bowler but Pakistan's number 10 batsman has a pair of first-class centuries and showed his prowess by first crunching Brian Vitori for six over long on, to set the tempo for the decisive over.
There was no gain from the next ball, but a subsequent two from Bhatti's bat left Pakistan needing just four runs from three balls, and a crisp cover drive settled the contest.
It meant Pakistan marked their first home series in six years with success, and the teams will now go head to head over three one-day internationals which like both matches in the shorter format will be staged at the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, where tight security has been in place.
Ever since terrorists attacked a bus carrying the touring Sri Lanka team in Lahore during the second Test in March 2009, causing the match and the series to be abandoned, Pakistan have mostly played home games in the United Arab Emirates.
They struggled to contain Zimbabwe, who made a snappy 175 for three in which the top three in the order each made handy contributions.
Hamilton Masakadza fell for 39 from 32 balls, opening partner Vusi Sibanda weighed in with a 46-ball 49, and Sean Williams stepped up the pace with an undefeated 58 from 32 balls.
Elton Chigumbura cleared the ropes with three sixes in a rapid cameo 21, but the total was to prove fractionally insufficient.
Mukhtar Ahmed glued together Pakistan's innings with 62, until his wicket was the fourth to fall with the total on 117. Umar Akmal weighed in with 30, and while wickets fell with worrying regularity the required run rate remained just about in reach.
Shahid Afridi's innings saw him snick a single, clatter a six, and make a muddle of his third ball, slicing a catch to Sikandar Raza.
Fortunately for Pakistan, Bhatti was waiting for his chance, seizing it with the assurance of a more senior batsman.
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Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by two wickets in Lahore