Ton-up Yousuf, Malik excel in Pakistan's record match
by AFP

Ground:Iqbal Stadium, Faisalabad
Scorecard:Pakistan v Zimbabwe
Player:SC Williams, T Taibu, Shoaib Malik, Mohammad Yousuf
Event:Zimbabwe in Pakistan 2007/08

DateLine: 31st January 2008


Mohammad Yousuf's brilliant century and Shoaib Malik's all-round contribution helped Pakistan overwhelm Zimbabwe by seven wickets in the fourth one-day match here on Wednesday.


Captain Malik grabbed 3-55 as the tourists were bowled out for 244 before Yousuf hit an unbeaten 108 and Malik notched up an attractive 88 to help their team successfully chase the target in 47 overs.


The win, which lifted the home team to a 4-0 lead in the five-match series, came in Pakistan's world record 673rd one-day match. India previously held the record of playing the most limited-over internationals with 672.


Malik, who turns 26 on Saturday, added 141 runs for the third wicket with Yousuf to steady Pakistan's chase after they lost openers Nasir Jamshed (11) and Khalid Latif (19) by the 15th over.


Yousuf delighted the packed 16,000 Iqbal stadium with slick timing, hitting ten boundaries and a six in his 111-ball knock for his 14th one-day hundred -- the only century in the series so far.


Malik, who has failed with the bat in the last two matches, found his touch as he reached his half-century off 57 balls with seven boundaries.


The pair subdued the Zimbabwe attack and reached what appeared to be a respectable target with ease.


Malik said he was not disappointed on missing a century.


"I think it was my fault. I ran hastily," said Malik, who ran himself out a second time in the series. "A win is more important than a personal milestone and I am happy with the team's consistency."


Zimbabwe owed their total to a defiant stand of 85 between Tatenda Taibu (51) and Sean Williams (48), who repaired the early loss of Vusi Sibanda (three) and Hamilton Masakadza (two) -- both leg-before to paceman Kamran Hussain.


It was Malik who broke the third-wicket partnership when he caught Williams off his own bowling, before sending Brendon Taylor (seven) and Taibu back to leave the tourists struggling at 132-5 in the 30th over.


Keith Dabengwa spoiled Malik's figures in the end, taking 19 off the last over to finish with 45 -- studded with three boundaries and two sixes.


Taibu managed four boundaries during his 76-ball knock, while Williams hit a six and four boundaries in his innings which lasted 56 deliveries.


Chamu Chibhabha (30) and Elton Chigumbura (24) also chipped in with useful contributions.


Masakadza said his team is learning fast.


"We, as a team, are disappointed on losing four matches, but we are learning how to play spin in Pakistan and this experience will help us in future," he said.


Pakistan rested experienced batsman Younis Khan, wicketkeeper Kamran Akmal, Yasir Arafat and Salman Butt for this match and awarded one-day debuts to opener Khalid Latif and paceman Sohail Khan.


They also included Fawad Alam and wicket-keeper Sarfraz Ahmed.


Zimbabwe, without their injured captain Prosper Utseya for a second match in a row, were further depleted after paceman Tawanda Mupariwa sprained his ankle in practice on Tuesday.


Mupariwa, who took four wickets in the last match, was replaced by Chris Mpofu.


The final match of the series will be played at Sheikhupura on Saturday.

(Article: Copyright © 2008 AFP)