Rawalpindi: After registering a 26-run victory over Zimbabwe in the first ODI of the three-match series, Pakistan skipper Babar Azam hailed the death bowling skills of Shaheen Shah Afridi and Wahab Riaz.
Zimbabwe failed to chase down the target of 282 after being bowled out for 255. Taylor played a knock of 112 runs, while for Pakistan, Shaheen Shah Afridi returned with the figures of 5-49. "Shaheen Shah gave us an outstanding start, and at the finish, he was brilliant alongside Wahab Riaz at the death. I had a great belief in him because I know his qualities. Wahab Riaz is very experienced, but Shaheen is building up experience as well, now. That reassured me even when Zimbabwe were in a really strong position. That faith was vindicated in the way he finished the game off," ESPNCricinfo quoted Azam as saying.
Zimbabwe needed 88 runs off the final ten overs to win the match with six wickets in hand. At that time, Shaheen came into the attack and he changed the game for Pakistan. Shaheen was fully supported by Wahab Riaz at the other end, and the left-arm seamer also took four wickets.
Earlier, Haris Sohail and Imam-ul-Haq scored half-centuries for Pakistan as the side posted a total of 281/8 in the allotted fifty overs.
In the end, Imad Wasim also played a knock of 34 runs off just 26 balls to take Pakistan's score past the 280-run mark. Azam did not have a good outing with the bat in hand as he was able to score just 19 runs.
"When we started the innings the wicket was a bit two-paced. Some balls came on to the bat really nicely but others didn't. That puts you in doubt and a bit more hesitant to play your shots. I tried to remain positive but it was quite a tricky wicket to get set on, and that makes it challenging for the new batsmen," said Azam.
"The way we started was unfortunately not up to our expectations. But we were playing ODI cricket after a year and we were all a little rusty, and there are better performances to follow from us," he added.
Pakistan and Zimbabwe will now lock horns in the second ODI of the three-match series on Sunday, November 1.