Inspired Zimbabwe stun Pakistan to grab a thrilling 1-run win

Perth: A spirited Zimbabwe team held their nerve to beat Pakistan by one run in a thrilling ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 match that went down to the last delivery at the Perth Stadium, here on Thursday.

It was Pakistan’s second defeat in two matches and their path to the semi-finals has now become difficult. They had earlier lost to arch-rivals India in their campaign opener on Sunday.

A clinical bowling performance by Mohammad Wasim Jr (4/24) and Shadab Khan (3/23) helped Pakistan restrict Zimbabwe to 130/8 in 20 overs. The likes of Wasim and Shadab combined for seven wickets to trigger a drastic collapse and were well aided by Haris Rauf (1/12) who proved difficult to score.

Chasing a sub-par total, Pakistan lost the wickets of Mohammad Rizwan (14) and Babar Azam (4) cheaply in the power play and were in trouble. Babar was leveled by some wonderful bowling by Brad Evans only to be sent back for just four runs from nine balls and the outstanding Blessing Muzarabani cleaned up Mohammad Rizwan through an inside edge for 14 (16) to give Zimbabwe a cushion.

Iftikhar Ahmed (5) was also dismissed cheaply but Pakistan looked to have taken control of the game with a solid partnership between Shan Masood and Shadab Khan to reach 88/3 with six and a half overs still to go.

But Zimbabwe’s inspired all-rounder Sikandar Raza took two wickets in two balls to remove Shadab (17) and Hyder Ali (0) before Masud (44) was stumped in his next over to give Zimbabwe hope and set a grand finale. However, the likes of Mohammad Nawaz (22) along with Mohammad Wasim Jr (12 not out) were not ready to give up as Pakistan needed 11 to win the final over.

Wasim’s decisive boundary took the equation to three from three with the well-placed Mohammad Nawaz at the crease. But 25-year-old Brad Evans produced three stunning deliveries just when it mattered.

First, Evans edged through a pass batsman which Nawaz failed to connect with. An error on the penultimate ball then saw Nawaz caught at mid-off by skipper Craig Irvine, a wicket that saw both batsmen fall to their knees, heartbreak again for Nawaz in the second successive game.

With three needed to win, Shaheen Shah Afridi hit the last ball down the ground, pulling away in a desperate bid for a second break to level the match. Wicketkeeper Regis Chakabwa failed to bowl the toss early on but rallied to take wickets with Afridi still short, leading Zimbabwe to a thrilling one-wicket victory and sparking jubilant scenes among his teammates and supporters.

Sikandar Raza was the most successful bowler for Zimbabwe with his brilliant figures of 3/25 and received wide support from Brad Evans (2/25).

Earlier, winning the toss and electing to bat first, Zimbabwe got off a flyer as the dashing Wesley Madhever and skipper Craig Irvine played some eye-catching knocks in the first two overs. With five boundaries in the first three overs, Zimbabwe got off to a great start, racing by 10 runs an over.

Some of that early momentum waned when Irvine was sent back by Haris Rauf and his partner was trapped by Wasim in front. Shadab Khan bowled Milton Shumba before Shaun Williams and Sikandar Raza set about the resurrection job.

Things went south rather quickly when Shadab brought back Williams and Regis Chakabwa off successive deliveries, the latter dropping a spectacular grab at first slip to Babar Azam.

Shadab completed a brilliant spell of 4-0-23-3 but there was more for Zimbabwe at the other end. In the very next over, after losing two wickets off consecutive balls to Shadab, Zimbabwe lost two more as Mohammad Wasim dismissed Raza and Luke Jongwe off consecutive balls.

Once 95/3, which looked a solid start, quickly turned into 95/7 as Pakistan’s bowlers ran wild in Perth. They eventually put 130/8 on the board with some help from Bradley Evans down the order.

Brief Score: Zimbabwe 130/8 in 20 overs (Sean Williams 31, Brad Evans 19; Mohammad Wasim Jr 4/24, Shadab Khan 3/23) beat Pakistan 129/8 in 20 overs (Shan Masood 44, Mohammad Nawaz 22; Sikandar Raza 3/25, Brad Evans 2/25) by 1 run.


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