Iftikhar, Babar star in Pakistan’s series-clinching victory

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan: Spinner Iftikhar Ahmed grabbed a maiden five-wicket haul while Babar Azam notched a half-century as Pakistan thumped Zimbabwe by six wickets to win the second one-day international in Rawalpindi on Sunday.
Ahmed spun a web around Zimbabwe’s batsmen with figures of 5-40 to wreck them for a paltry 206 before Azam knocked an attractive 74-ball 77 not out to chase down the target in 35.2 overs.
Zimbabwe needed early wickets, but a solid opening stand of 68 between Imam-ul-Haq (49) and Abid Ali (22) ensured Pakistan were set up nicely.
The win gives Pakistan an unassailable 2-0 lead after they won the first game by 26 runs on Friday. The final match is at the same venue on Tuesday.
Left-arm spinner Tendai Chisoro (2-49) removed both the openers while Sean Williams dismissed debutant Haider Ali (29) but Azam and Ahmed (16 not out) completed the victory during their unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 46 runs.
Azam hit seven boundaries in his 16th ODI half-century, bringing up the victory with his second six.
Skipper Azam said the win would add to his side’s belief.
“It was a good show by our young team and every win brings more confidence,” said Azam, leading only for the second time in an ODI.
“We improved on our batting from the first match which is a good sign,” the Pakistan skipper said — AFP