Pacers Shaheen Shah Afridi and Wahab Riaz shared nine wickets amongst themselves to spare Pakistan the blushes against Zimbabwe in the first ODI at the Rawalpindi Stadium here on Friday.
Pakistan, playing their first ODI since October last year, emerged winners by 26 runs.
The hosts made 281 for 8 after electing to bat first but Zimbabwe came close to a upset win with veteran Brendon Taylor (112) scoring a superb hundred and youngster, Wesley Madhevere, rattling the home side in a century partnership.
Zimbabwe looked set for a shock win at 234 for four in the 45th over but then Wahab (4/41) and Shaheen (5/49) ran amok sharing the remaining six wickets.
The 20-year old, with just three ODIs behind him, batted with assurance hitting seven fours as he and Taylor (11 fours, three sixes) put on 119 runs for the fifth wicket.
Taylor was picked up by Shaheen in the next over after Madhevere’s dismissal and Zimbabwe then lost their last five wickets for only 21 runs to be bowled out for 255 in the final over.
Taylor also put on 71 runs for the third wicket with Sean Ervine (41) after Shaheen had dismissed openers, Chari and skipper Chamu Chibhabha, quickly.
Earlier, Pakistan batting disappointed as all the top order batsmen struggled to even score at a run a ball run rate with Haris Sohail top scoring with 71 from 82 balls with six fours and two sixes and opener, Imam ul Haq making 58 from 75 balls.
The Pakistani batsmen had some 150 dot balls in their innings as the Zimbabwean spinners, Chisoro (2 for 31), Madhevere and Sikander Raza (1 for 45) made run scoring difficult on a pitch which offered some help to them.
Pakistan surprisingly opted to go in with just one spinner, packing their attack with pacers and giving a ODI cap to Haris Rauf who has earlier represented his country in T20 internationals.
The Pakistan innings got some impetus late when Faheem Ashraf (23 from 16 balls) and Imad Wasim (34 not out) played some big shots to pick up the scoring rate.
Imam found himself run out in a comical mix up with Haris Sohail with both batsmen running to the same end in the 26th over.
Zimbabwe playing their first intentional series since early this year dropped some chances but overall they appeared to brush off their rustiness quickly.
Pakistan 281 for 8 in 50 overs (Haris Sohail 71, Imam ul Haq 58, Imad Wasim 34 n.o Chisro 2 for 31)
Zimbabwe 255 all out 49.4 overs (Brendon Taylor 112, Wesley Madhevere 55, Sean Ervine 41. Shaheen Shah Afridi 5/49,