1st ODI: Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 41 runs Published: May 26, 2015 PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/ EXPRESS LAHORE: Pakistan beat Zimbabwe by 41 runs in the first ODI of the three-match series at Gaddafi stadium, Lahore on late Tuesday. Shoaib Malik and Elton Chigumbura scored centuries in a high-scoring encounter on a pitch that offered nothing to the bowlers. Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat first. Azhar Ali (79) and Muhammad Hafeez (86) played promising innings but could not convert their half-tons into centuries. Shoaib Malik (112 off 76) grabbed the opportunity and hit the fastest century of his career off 70 balls to mark a brilliant comeback. He was supported well by Haris Sohail who was unbeaten 89 at the end of the innings. Prosper Utseya accounted for two batsmen. Set a daunting task to chase 376 runs, Zimbabwe started positively but Sikandar Raza (36) and Vusimuzi Sibanda (23) departures slowed the pace of their innings. Captain Elton Chigumbura (117) and Hamilton Masakadza (73) pushed the cause forward but couldn’t help their side past the finishing line. Wahab bagged three wickets for Pakistan. Chigumbura: Its a good wicket to bat on. If you put good runs on the board you can get the other team in trouble. Man-of-the-match Shoaib Malik (112 runs and a wicket): Well, I needed a comeback. My number was fifth. Waqar bhai came to me and said we have the start you should take over. Mushtaq bhai also trusted in me. The most important thing for me is that the team won. I had some good innings in the domestic matches that set me in the flow. I want to do more for my country. Before this series, I was playing all around the world and I was working on my bowling. It gives you an extra edge as an all-rounder. (Chuckling) I don’t have space for the trophies, she (Sania) is already bringing in more trophies than me. Azhar Ali: It was a great batting effort. Hafeez gave a great start and the others got going after that. We batted Zimbabwe out of the game. The wickets are good. Bowling here is tough. But we should try to not to concede too many runs on batting tracks. Trying to play fearless cricket, and lead the team positively. You have to maintain balance between hitting and playing for the team.