Malik's hundred carries Pakistan to series victory

Tue, Apr 11, '17

 

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Runs in short supply was a familiar theme for the hosts all evening, culminating in a result they - and their fans - have become all too familiar with of late.

A commanding performance to secure a vice-like grip on eighth place doesn't sound like an especially formidable achievement, but it was a much-needed boost off the back of a troubling few months for Pakistan cricket. A 113-run partnership between veterans Shoaib Malik - who reached his ninth ODI century with the six to seal victory - and Mohammad Hafeez enabled Pakistan to canter to a six-wicket win and clinch the three-match series 2-1.

Pakistan's chase of 234 got off to an eventful start, with a first-ball wicket, a nasty collision between Ahmed Shehzad and Babar Azam, a dropped catch at mid-on and a brilliant grab by wicketkeeper Shai Hope all crammed into a lively first six overs. Babar edged Shannon Gabriel into his stumps less than three overs later, and the upshot from a frenetic opening Powerplay was Pakistan had lost three wickets for 45 and, for the umpteenth time, were looking wobbly.

The one positive Pakistan could glean from the situation was that Hafeez and Malik were at the crease together, and with 430 ODIs between them, they represented vast experience, if nothing else. It showed, too, with the pair ensuring they made survival their main priority for the next hour or so amid some testing spin bowling by Devendra Bishoo and Ashley Nurse, and they slowly began to turn the game in Pakistan's favour.

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