Captain Azhar Ali scored a century on Friday and led Pakistan to a six-wicket victory over Zimbabwe in the second one-day international to take an unbeatable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Ali, dropped on 53, scored a career-best 102 off 104 balls with eight fours in Pakistan’s solid run-chase of 269-4.
Ali featured in two half-century stands, adding 85 runs with Asad Shafiq (39) and a further 56 with Haris Sohail, who remained unbeaten on 52 for his second successive half century.
“Modern cricket has become fast and you need to keep pace with it,” Ali said after becoming the first Pakistani captain to score a hundred in a successful run-chase.
“It was great to see (Pakistan) bowlers restricting them to 268 on a very good batting wicket, but I believe we have a long way to go.”
A suicide bomber blew himself up near the stadium during the game, Information Minister Pervez Rashid said on Geo TV. He said the bomber had tried to get closer to the stadium but was stopped by police. The bomber then detonated his payload, killing a police officer and wounding six others.
Police had initially said the explosion, which was heard during the match, was caused by an electric transformer nearly a kilometer away from the Gaddafi Stadium.
Security around the games has been tight during the entire tour, which is the first by a Test-playing nation in Pakistan since gunmen attacked the Sri Lanka team bus in 2009.
Earlier, Sikandar Raza scored an unbeaten 100 off 84 balls and Chamu Chibhabha, replacing suspended regular captain Elton Chigumbura, missed out on his maiden hundred by one run as Zimbabwe posted 268-7.
Ali lost 3-0 to Bangladesh last month in his debut series as Pakistan ODI captain, but his century ensured Pakistan won its first ODI series in 17 months after losing five in a row.
Pakistan could have been 109-3 in the 23rd over, but Chibhabha dropped the Pakistan skipper at short cover off Graeme Cremer, one of four changes made by Zimbabwe.
Stand-in captain Hamilton Masakadza rotated eight but Ali stayed focused after the let off before he was caught at point.
“The guys tried hard with Raza and Chibhabha coming good but I think we were 20-30 runs short,” said Masakadza.
Pakistan’s bowlers struggled for the breakthrough after Ali won the toss but surprisingly decided to bowl in temperatures of 41 degrees Celsius (105 Fahrenheit).
After Pakistan’s fast bowlers toiled in the hot weather, offspinner Mohammad Hafeez brought the first success in the 19th over when he clean bowled Sibanda.
Chibhabha hit 11 fours and a six but walked back in apparent disbelief after he was adjudged caught behind.
Raza cut loose after Chibhabha’s dimissal and hit fast bowler Mohammad Sami for two fours and a six in one over as Zimbabwe scored 81 runs in the last 10 overs.
Zimbabwe will round off its 13-day tour with the last ODI on Sunday after the African nation became the first Test country to tour Pakistan after six years.