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Hollow victory for Pakistan
21 Mar 2007
By: Zac Gelman

In what has been perhaps the worst week in their history, the Pakistan cricket team were still able to turn up the heat on Zimbabwe for a comprehensive victory.

Last week, in a major shock at the time, Pakistan were rudely bundled out of the Super 8 stage of the World Cup after their surprise loss to Ireland.

But that paled in comparison to what happened next, the tragic death of their beloved coach Bob Woolmer. To make matters worse, Jamaican police announced yesterday that the death was suspicious.

Also during the week captain Inzamam-ul-Haq announced his retirement from one-day internationals and after the toss, he had to fight back the tears as he dedicated his last match to "Bob".

To their credit, as they've done so many times before, Pakistan were able to focus on the task at hand, block out the chaos surrounding them and play cricket. And it was excellent cricket in a day belonged to opener Imran Nazir.

Nazir player a career defining innings, scoring a brilliant and fascinating 160 runs off a mere 121 balls together with eight sixes and 14 fours. The Zimbabwe attack had no answers for the batsman as he plummeted their attack to all parts of the ground with stylish and innovative cricketing shots.

His partners were not as successful however, Kamran Akmal dismissed for 15, Shoaib Malik for 21, Mohammad Yousuf for 3, Younis Khan for 28 and Inzamam-ul-Haq.

When Inzamam was finally removed for the last time from a brilliant catch in the deep by Mupariwa, his prolific and legendary one-day career was over. The second highest run scorer in limiter overs history, with over 11,000 runs to his name, Inzamam could be proud of his place in cricketing history.

The Zimbabwe players went to shake his hand, they were well aware of the moment and just like that, it was over. A career that had started in 1991 and consisted of a whopping 378 matches was consigned to history and the game, as always, went on.

Iftikhar Anjum played a valuable cameo late in the innings, 32 off 15 runs to take Pakistan's innings total to an impressive 349, their highest in World Cup history. The result at this stage a mere formality with Zimbabwe never looking likely at stealing the win.

It didn't help that Zimbabwe lost their first wicket off the second ball, Umar Gul taking the wicket of Sibanda and after that, the Zimbabwe freefall began.

No batsman was able to make an impact besides a brisk innings from Elton Chigumbura who scored 27 off just 11 balls, but once he was bowled by Afridi, it was more or less over, as Zimbabwe collapsed to 99 all out, Pakistan winning by 93 runs on the D/L method.

Pakistan 349
Imran Nazir 160, Inzamam-ul-Haq 37
Elton Chigumbura 3-50, Gary Brent 3-68

Zimbabwe 99
Elton Chigumbura 27
Shahid Afridi 3-20, Umar Gul 2-10

Pakistan won by 93 runs (D/L method)

Cricket Web Player of the Match: Imran Nazir 160 (121)

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