Left-armer Imad Wasim took four wickets to spin Pakistan to a 13-run victory over Zimbabwe in the first of two Twenty20 internationals at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
Although Zimbabwe put in a disciplined performance with the ball after losing the toss and restricted Pakistan to 136 for eight, they were unable to contend with Wasim's bowling on a slow pitch and crumbled to 123 for nine in reply.
The 26-year-old Wasim finished with figures of 4 for 11 from four overs, and was named man of the match having also contributed 19 runs from just 12 balls.
"Everything I touched turned into gold today," Wasim said. "I tried to bowl wicket-to-wicket and the basics paid off."
Such a comfortable victory was not always on the cards for Pakistan, who slumped to 29 for three early in their innings as seamer Chamu Chibhabha grabbed three wickets in six deliveries.
Their recovery was led by Shoaib Malik, who scored 35 from just 24 balls before he was bowled by a skiddy Sean Williams delivery, and was finished off by Mohammad Rizwan's unbeaten 33.
Chibhabha finished with figures of 3 for 18 from three overs, and also took an outstanding catch in the outfield to dismiss Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi late in the innings.
That helped Zimbabwe prevent the onslaught at the death that their bowlers have been vulnerable to this year, but they lost in-form Chibhabha to Wasim in the first over of their reply.
Hamilton Masakadza's steady 25 kept the hosts in the game as they headed towards the halfway stage of their chase, before Wasim returned to take a wicket in each of his remaining three overs and leave Zimbabwe's lower order with too much to do.
Captain Elton Chigumbura's 31 took the match into the last over with Zimbabwe needing 16 to win with two wickets in hand, but debutant Imran Khan held his nerve to secure the win for Pakistan.
"We just lost too many wickets at the end," Chigumbura reflected.
"The wicket was a bit slow and difficult, but requiring six runs an over, it was good enough to bat on.
"We have come close on many occasions but we keep on losing."
The second T20 international takes place at the same venue on Tuesday, and will be followed by three one-day internationals.
Ahmed Shehzad b Chibhabha 17
Mukhtar Ahmed c Masakadza b Chibhabha 4
Sohaib Maqsood b Chibhabha 6
Shoaib Malik b Williams 35
Umar Akmal c Masakadza b Cremer 14
Mohammad Rizwan not out 33
Imad Wasim c Ervine b Jongwe 19
Shahid Afridi c Chibhabha b Panyangara 2
Wahab Riaz run out 0
Extras (2lb, 3w, 1nb) 6
Total (8 wkts, 20 overs) 136
Fall of wickets: 1-21 (Ahmed Shehzad), 2-25 (Mukhtar Ahmed), 3-29 (Sohaib Maqsood), 4-71 (Umar Akmal), 5-87 (Shoaib Malik), 6-133 (Imad Wasim), 7-136 (Shahid Afridi), 8-136 (Wahab Riaz).
Did not bat: Imran Khan, Sohail Tanvir.
Bowling: Utseya 4-0-32-0, Chibhabha 3-0-18-3, Panyangara 2-0-8-1, Jongwe 2-0-9-1, Cremer 4-0-21-1, Williams 4-0-34-1, Sikandar Raza 1-0-12-0.
H. Masakadza c Mukhtar Ahmed b Imad Wasim 25
C. Chibhabha b Imad Wasim 0
C. Ervine lbw b Sohail Tanvir 11
Sikandar Raza lbw b Imad Wasim 13
S. Williams lbw b Imad Wasim 14
E. Chigumbura run out 31
R. Mutumbami run out 9
L. Jongwe run out 2
G. Cremer c Shahid Afridi b Wahab Riaz 0
P. Utseya not out 12
T. Panyangara not out 1
Extras (2lb, 3w) 5
Total (9 wkts, 20 overs) 123
Fall of wickets: 1-1 (Chibhabha), 2-27 (Ervine), 3-49 (Sikandar Raza), 4-60 (Masakadza), 5-66 (Williams), 6-77 (Mutumbami), 7-90 (Jongwe), 8-90 (Cremer), 9-121 (Chigumbura).
Bowling: Imad Wasim 4-0-11-4, Sohail Tanvir 4-0-24-1, Wahab Riaz 4-0-27-1, Imran Khan 4-0-29-0, Shahid Afridi 3-0-23-0, Shoaib Malik 1-0-7-0.
Umpires: Jeremiah Matibiri (ZIM) and Russell Tiffin (ZIM)
TV umpire: Langton Rusere (ZIM)
Match referee: David Jukes (ENG)
Result: Pakistan won by 13 runs.
Series: Pakistan lead the two-match series 1-0.
Imran Khan jnr bowls an excellent final over to restrict Zimbabwe for 123-9 as Pakistan win by 13 runs.
Masakadza made 25 at the top and Chigumbura made a battling 31.
Wasim claim four for 11 to choke Zimbabwe chasing a target of 137.
OUT! Chigumbura is run out after a fighting knock virtually ending Zimbabwe's hopes. Zim 121-9, 19.1 overs.
Elton Chigumbura run out 31 (28b 2x4 1x6)
Tanvir bowls a good penultimate over conceding just 10 runs despite being clubbed for a boundary by Utseya leaving Zimbabwe to get 16 off the last over. Zimb 121-8, 19 overs.
Chigumbura is keeping alive Zimbabwe's slim hopes of victory cracking a boundary apiece off Imran and Wahab. Zim 111-8, 18 overs.
OUT! It's all over bar the shouting as Zimbabwe lose their eighth wicket. Zim 90-8, 15.5 overs.
Graeme Cremer c Shahid Afridi b Wahab Riaz 0 (1b 0x4 0x6)
OUT! Another run out as Zimbabwe stumble in their run chase. Zim 90-7, 15.4 overs.
Luke Jongwe run out 2 (6b 0x4 0x6)
Chigumbura has smashed a slower ball from Imran into the stands. Zim 87-6, 15 overs.
OUT! Mutumbami is run out by a direct hit from Wasim as Zimbabwe seem to be stuttering in their chase. Zim 77-6, 13.1 overs.
Richmond Mutumbami run out 9 (9b 1x4 0x6)
Wasim completes his spell with excellent figures of 4-0-11-4. Zim 68-5, 12 overs.
OUT! Wasim has struck again with Williams attempting a reverse sweep and being adjudged leg before. Zim 66-5, 11.1 overs.
Williams punches Afridi down the ground to keep alive Zimbabwe's hopes. Zimb 66-4, 11 overs.
OUT! Wasim claims his third wicket as Masakadza holes out to long-on. Zim 60-4, 9.4 overs.
Hamilton Masakadza c Mukhtar Ahmed b Imad Wasim 25 (25b 2x4 0x6)
FOUR! Williams thumps the first ball from Malik over the bowler's head for a boundary.
Wasim has struck again getting rid of Raza who shuffles to be trapped leg and also stumped. Zim 49-3, 7.5 overs.
OUT! Sikandar Raza lbw b Imad Wasim 13 (10b 2x4 0x6)
FOUR! Masakadza whips a short ball from Afridi to the fence as Zimbabwe seem to be on track chasing 137. Zimb 46-2, 7 overs.
FOUR! Raza gets off the mark by slamming Tanvir through the covers for a boundary followed by a pull to midwicket. Zim 37-2, 6 overs.
Tanvir has struck trapping Ervine leg before with the left-hander going across the stumps. Zim 27-2, 5.1 overs.
OUT! Craig Ervine lbw b Sohail Tanvir 11 (14b 1x4 0x6)
FOUR! Masakadza spanks the final delivery from Imran's first over down the ground for a boundary. Zim 27-1, 5 overs.
FOUR! Ervine hits the first boundary off the innings off a thick under edge off Riaz.
OUT! Wasim strikes in the first over knocking back Chibhabha's stumps with a delivery which nipped back. Zim 1-1, 1 over.
Chamu Chibhabha b Imad Wasim 0 (2b 0x4 0x6)
OUT! Pakistan have set Zimbabwe a target of 137 with Malik (35) and Rizwan (33 not out) being the main contributors after Chibhabha wrecked the top order claiming three for 18.
Riaz is run out off the last ball as Pakistan reach 136-8 in their 20 overs.
Wahab Riaz run out 0 (0b 0x4 0x6)
OUT! Chibhabha takes a brilliant catch to dismiss Afridi. Pak 136-7, 19.5 overs.
Shahid Afridi c Chibhabha b Panyangara 2 (3b 0x4 0x6)
OUT! Wasim departs after a breezy stand of 46 with Rizwan being undone by a slower ball. Pak 133-6, 19 overs.
Imad Wasim c Ervine b Jongwe 19 (12b 1x4 1x6)
SIX! Left-hander Wasim uses his dancing shoes to send Williams sailing out of the ground followed by a boundary. Pak 127-5, 18 overs.
SIX! Rizwan finally gets the middle of the bat giving Raza the charge and slog sweeping for a six over midwicket. Pak 111-5, 17 overs.
OUT! Big wicket for Zimbabwe as Williams strikes beating Malik who is bowled off an inside edge. Pak 87-5, 14.2 overs.
Shoaib Malik b Williams 35 (24b 2x4 1x6)
Rizwan survives and Pakistan would have been in further trouble if Mutumbami had not missed a regulation stumping chance off a big turner from Williams. Pak 80-4, 13 overs.
OUT! Cremer breaks a promising partnership as Ukmal attempts to hit straight only to miscue to long off after adding 42 runs. Pak 71-4, 11.2 overs.
Umar Akmal c Masakadza b Cremer 14 (17b 1x4 0x6)
SIX! Malik hits the first six of the match dancing down the track and slamming the first ball from Cremer over long-off. Pak 67-3, 10 overs.
FOUR! Malik gets going with a streaky boundary to third man off Utseya as Pakistan look to rebuild their innings. Pak 42-3, 7 overs.
FOUR! Akmal flicks the first ball from Chibhabha through square leg for a boundary. Pak 33-3, 6 overs.
OUT! Chibhabha has struck thrice and Pakistan are in deep trouble with Maqsood playing across the line and being bowled. Pak 29-3, 5.3 overs.
Sohaib Maqsood b Chibhabha 6 (10b 0x4 0x6)
OUT! Double blow for Pakistan as Mukhtar perishes attempting to hoist Chibhabha out of the ground only for Masakadza to hold onto a skier. Pak 25-2, 4 overs.
Mukhtar Ahmed c Masakadza b Chibhabha 4 (4b 0x4 0x6)
OUT! Chibhabha strikes as Shehzad gives himself room to punch through the offside field only to find his stumps castled. Pak 21-1, 3.4 overs.
Ahmed Shehzad b Chibhabha 17 (19b 3x4 0x6)
FOUR! Shehzad gets a boundary on the onside flicking Panyangara past mid-on. Pak 21-0, 3 overs.
FOUR! Shehzad drives Chibhabha through point for another boundary. Pak 16-0, 2 overs.
FOUR! Shehzad punches the second ball from Utseya over mid-off for the first boundary of the match.
Pakistan have won the toss and opted to bat in the first T20 international against Zimbabwe at Harare on Sunday.
Left arm seamer Imran Khan jnr makes his debut for Pakistan.
Zimbabwe: CJ Chibhabha, Sikandar Raza, H Masakadza, CR Ervine, SC Williams, E Chigumbura, R Mutumbami, LM Jongwe, P Utseya, AG Cremer, T Panyangara
Pakistan: Ahmed Shehzad, Mukhtar Ahmed, Shoaib Malik, Umar Akmal, Sohaib Maqsood, Shahid Afridi, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Rizwan, Wahab Riaz, Sohail Tanvir, Imran Khan
The two sides will engage in two Twenty20 internationals and three one-day internationals in the space of nine days at Harare Sports Club.
Pakistan have included uncapped players Imran Khan jnr, Aamer Yamin and Bilal Asif in their squad for the Twenty20 matches, which take place on Sunday and Tuesday.
Zimbabwe squad: Elton Chigumbura (capt), Richmond Mutumbami (wk), Chamu Chibhabha, Craig Ervine, Hamilton Masakadza, Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Graeme Cremer, Tinashe Panyangara, Christopher Mpofu, Prosper Utseya, Taurai Muzarabani, Luke Jongwe, John Nyumbu, Malcolm Waller.
Pakistan squad: Shahid Afridi (capt), Ahmed Shehzad, Mukhtar Ahmed, Umar Akmal, Mohammad Hafeez, Sohaib Maqsood, Shoaib Malik, Aamer Yamin, Mohammad Irfan, Bilal Asif, Wahab Riaz, Imad Wasim, Sohail Tanvir, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Imran Khan jnr.