Zimbabwe v Pakistan - Men's

Pakistan crush Zimbabwe in opener

Career-best performances from young stars guide Pakistan to resounding win over host nation Zimbabwe


14 July 2018, 08:09 AM AEST

Opening batsman Imam-ul-Haq hit a century and legspinner Shadab Khan grabbed a career-best 4-32 as Pakistan crushed Zimbabwe by 201 runs in the first ODI in Bulawayo.

Left-handed Imam, nephew of former Pakistan captain Inzamam-ul-Haq, made 128 off 134 balls in an imposing total of 7-308 after Zimbabwe captain Hamilton Masakadza won the toss and elected to field.

It was Imam's second career ODI century in his fifth match, and included 11 boundaries.

The Zimbabwe top-order batsmen struggled against Pakistan pace before Shadab ran through the tail as Zimbabwe was bowled out for 107 with 15 overs to spare.

It's Pakistan's fifth-biggest margin of victory in ODI cricket and their second-biggest against a Test nation, while Zimbabwe suffered their heaviest ODI defeat ever on home soil.

Wicketkeeper-batsman Ryan Murray top-scored on debut with an unbeaten 32. No other Zimbabwe batsmen could cope with the pace or Shadab.

Speaking after the match, Khan credited his career-best form to a slowish pitch, as well as the camaraderie of the Pakistan team. 

"We're very good friends, and maybe that's why," Khan said. "If anyone in the team performs, the whole team appreciates them."

"[The surface] was a bit on the slow side. I've been here with Pakistan A, in 2016, and I knew it was a slow pitch. And it helped us as well, especially me as a spinner."

Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed said he was satisfied with his side's win.  

"If the team performs well, the captain is definitely happy," he said.

"We could have got more runs in the end but there was overcast conditions."

The teams face each other again in the second match of the five-game series at the same ground on Sunday.