• Fakhar’s double ton crushes Zimbabwe

    Led by a double hundred from Fakhar Zaman, Pakistan piled more misery on the beleaguered Zimbabweans when they won by 244 runs in the fourth of five ODIs being played in Bulawayo.

    This was never a contest after Pakistan had fallen one short of 400 with one wicket down after electing to bat while four wickets from legbreak spinner Shadab Khan ensured victory with seven overs to go.

    It is hard to imagine who would most want this tedious rollover series to be concluded. Zimbabwe, missing eight experienced players through industrial dispute and injury, have been crushed in all four matches: previously by 201 runs, nine wickets and nine wickets (with 40 overs remaining).

    The Pakistanis cannot be learning much about their own strengths and weaknesses against such untesting opposition. Somewhat surprisingly, with the series wrapped up, the Pakistan management went with an unchanged team, declining to give any fringe players game time and a chance to enhance their averages.

    The Pakistani openers, Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar, put on 304 in 42 overs. Between them, in this series, they have scored a total of 715 runs out of Pakistan’s aggregate of 971. It could have been more, but in the third ODI they were only chasing 67. Only once has the No 4 batsman had a chance to bat.

    Fakhar became the sixth batsman – the first Pakistani – to score an ODI double hundred since Sachin Tendulkar broke the barrier against South Africa in Gwalior in 2010. Rohit Sharma has done it three times, with an ultimate best of 264 (v Sri Lanka in 2014).

    Following his century in the second ODI, Fakhar smashed 24 fours and five sixes on his way to an unbeaten 210 after Imam had fallen for 113. Asif Ali made a push to break the 400 mark, with 50 off 22 balls (five fours, three sixes), but it was a tad too much.

    Zimbabwe were never up for the chase, and the efforts of Elton Chigumbura (37 off 69 balls, one four) and Donald Tiripano (44 off 71, five fours) who put on 69 for the sixth wicket, were based more on survival after the top order had crumbled to 37-3 in six overs.