Off-spinner Bilal Asif outlined his potential value to Pakistan ahead of upcoming games against England as his five-wicket haul clinched the third and decisive one-day international against Zimbabwe at Harare Sports Club on Monday.
Playing in just his second ODI, Asif decimated the Zimbabwe line-up with figures of 5-25 as the hosts were bowled out for 161, then scored 38 from the top of the order as Pakistan chased their target in 34 overs to win by seven wickets.
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The 30-year-old was a late addition to Pakistan's ODI squad at the behest of Test captain Misbah-ul-Haq, who felt the off-spinner could come in handy against England's slew of left-handers in a three-Test series that starts on October 13.
Zimbabwe had made an impressive start after losing the toss and being asked to bat, with openers Chamu Chibhabha and Richmond Mutumbami putting on 89 for the first wicket at a steady pace.
But Asif broke the stand in his fifth over when he had Chibhabha caught and bowled for 48, and then went on to take four further wickets in his last three overs as Zimbabwe sank to 7-133.
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"The wicket looked very good for batting and at one stage we were looking to keep them within 270, but Bilal Asif bowled exceptionally," said regular Pakistan captain Azhar Ali, who watched the match from the sidelines because of a foot infection.
"It was only his second game, but he bowled with great maturity. Before this series we had a plan that we wanted to test some new blood and it is very good sign that they have performed and played with confidence. We have achieved our goals from this series."
In the two games Pakistan won during the series, Zimbabwe lost 19 of 20 wickets to spin.