Pakistan batsmen Mohammad Hafeez and Babar Azam tap bats during their partnership against Zimbabwe in 1st T20I at Rawalpindi Stadium on Saturday. RAWALPINDI: Babar Azam played a scintillating knock of 82 as Pakistan thrashed Zimbabwe by six wickets in the first Twenty20 international at Rawalpindi Cricket Stadium here on Saturday. Chasing a modest target of 157 runs, Babar proved yet again why he is one of the top batsmen in white-ball cricket with a dazzling 55-ball innings to lead the hosts reach home for the loss of four scalps in 18.5 overs. The victory gives Pakistan 1-0 lead in the three-match series and a 12th straight win over Zimbabwe in all Twenty20 international cricket. Babar, determined to regain his place as Twenty20’s top batsman –– which he lost to England’s Dawid Malan two months ago –– hit nine boundaries and a six during his 80-run stand for the third wicket with Mohammad Hafeez, who made 36 off 32 deliveries. Babar was finally caught in the 17th over and Hafeez in the 19th, but the target was never beyond Pakistan. Babar fell to Tendai Chatara, while trying to up the ante at the ending stages of the chase while Hafeez was bowled out by Blessing Muzarabani. Batsmen Khushdil Shah and Mohammad Rizwan then guided Pakistan over the finishing line with seven deliveries to spare. Paceman Muzarabani finished with 2-26. Zimbabwe, who upset Pakistan in the third one-day international at the end of their 2-1 loss in the preceding series, were never able to stop Babar’s free-flowing stroke-play despite dismissing Fakhar Zaman (19) and Haider Ali (seven) by the eighth over. Earlier, Wesley Madhevere struck a maiden half-century to lead Zimbabwe to 156-6 after their captain Chamu Chibhabha won the toss and opted to bat first. Madhevere, the 20-year-old right-hander, struck a 48-ball 70 not out with nine boundaries and a six to help Zimbabwe post a respectable total. Madhevere, who had only four runs in his previous two Twenty20 appearances, added 34 runs for the sixth wicket with Elton Chigumbura, who made a 13-ball 21 with six and two boundaries. Sean Williams (25) and Brendan Taylor (20) were the other contributors. For Pakistan, pacemen Haris Rauf and Wahab Riaz took two wickets apiece. Pakistan gave a Twenty20 international debut to 27-year-old spinner Usman Qadir, son of the great Abdul Qadir, who died last year. The teams will meet again at the same venue on Sunday and Tuesday.