International cricket returned to Pakistan on a winning note as Mukhtar Ahmed and Ahmed Shehzad helped to chase down Zimbabwe’s challenging 172- 6, winning by five wickets in Lahore on Saturday.
It was the first time an international match had been played in Pakistan since the terror attack on the Sri Lanka team bus outside this ground six years ago. Since then Pakistan have played their ‘home’ matches in the UAE.
Their 142-run stand equalled the opening partnership between Salman Butt and Kamran Akmal against Bangladesh in the 2010 World T20 but the one at the Gaddafi Stadium will be counted as more special. Mukhtar made 83 off 45 balls. Shehzad contributed 55 off 39 balls.
After the Mukhtar-Shehzad partnership, Pakistan lost three more wickets before captain Shahid Afridi struck a straight boundary to complete the win with three balls to spare.
Earlier Hamilton Masakadza got seven fours and a six in his 27-ball 43, to get the Zimabwe innings off to a decent start, and captain Elton Chigumbura added 54 off 35 balls, but there was little support down the line.
WINDIES COACH WOOS THE IPL MAVERICKS
West Indies coach Phil Simmons has opened the door for Dwayne Bravo, Lendl Simmons, Sunil Narine, Andre Russell and Kieron Pollard to return to the Test team, stating his intention to meet them on their return from the IPL.
Bravo and Lendl Simmons had announced their Test retirements, while Pollard took an ‘indefinite break’ from first-class cricket earlier this year. Russell indicated he was not physically capable of playing the long form and Narine has been sidelined due to questions about his bowling action.
However Phil Simmons, who was appointed coach in March and had a sturdy result in the home series against England, is eager to see if he can encourage a better relationship between the West Indies team and the region’s IPL participants. – ESPNCricinfo