Perth, Oct 27 (SocialNews.XYZ) A spirited Zimbabwe team held its nerves to beat Pakistan by one run in a thrilling ICC Men's T20 World Cup 2022 Super 12 match that went down to the very last delivery at Perth Stadium, here on Thursday.
This was Pakistan's second defeat in two games and their road to the semifinal has become difficult now. They had earlier lost to arch-rivals India in their campaign opener on Sunday.
Mohammad Wasim Jr (4/24) and Shadab Khan's (3/23) clinical bowling performance helped Pakistan restrict Zimbabwe to 130/8 in 20 overs. The likes of Wasim and Shadab combined to bag seven wickets to trigger a drastic collapse, and were well aided by Haris Rauf (1/12) who proved hard to score off.
Chasing a below-par total, Pakistan lost the wickets of Mohammad Rizwan (14) and Babar Azam (4) cheaply in the powerplay and were in trouble. Babar was squared up by a lovely piece of bowling from Brad Evans to be sent back for just four runs off nine balls and the outstanding Blessing Muzarabani cleaned up Mohammad Rizwan via an inside edge for 14 (16) to give Zimbabwe a sniff.
Iftikhar Ahmed (5) was also removed cheaply but Pakistan seemingly got the match under control with a solid partnership between Shan Masood and Shadab Khan to reach 88/3 with six and a half overs still remaining.
But the inspired Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza took two wickets in two balls to remove Shadab (17) and Haider Ali (0), before having Masood (44) stumped in his very next over to give Zimbabwe hope and set up a big finish. 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 off the final over.
Wasim's crucial boundary brought the equation to three from three with the well-set Mohammad Nawaz at the crease. But, the 25-year-old Brad Evans produced three stunning deliveries right when it mattered.
First, Evans fizzed through a pacy bouncer that Nawaz failed to connect with. Thereafter, a miscue off the penultimate ball had Nawaz caught at mid-off by captain Craig Ervine, a wicket that saw both batters sink to their knees, with heartbreak again for Nawaz in the second successive match.
With three required to win, Shaheen Shah Afridi punted the final ball down the ground, tearing back in a desperate attempt for a second run to tie the match. Wicket-keeper Regis Chakabva fumbled the throw at first, but recovered to whip off the bails with Afridi still short of his ground, leading Zimbabwe to a thrilling one wicket win and sparking jubilant scenes among his team-mates and supporters.
Sikandar Raza was the most successful bowler for Zimbabwe with his brilliant figures of 3/25 and he got ample support from Brad Evans (2/25).
Earlier, winning the toss and opting to bat first, Zimbabwe got off to a flier as a daring Wessley Madhevere and skipper Craig Ervine played some eye-catching shots inside the first two overs. With five boundaries inside the first three overs, Zimbabwe had a fabulous start, racing away at 10 runs per over.
Some of that early momentum toned down when Ervine was sent back by Haris Rauf and his partner got trapped in front by Wasim in the following over. Shadab Khan prized out Milton Shumba before Sean Williams and Sikandar Raza went about the resurrection work.
Things turned south pretty quickly soon when Shadab sent back Williams and Regis Chakabva off successive deliveries, the latter dismissed off a spectacular grab at first slip by Babar Azam.
Shadab completed a brilliant spell of 4-0-23-3 but there was more in store for Zimbabwe from the other end. In the very next over after losing two wickets off back-to-back balls to Shadab, Zimbabwe lost a further two as Mohammad Wasim dismissed Raza and Luke Jongwe off successive balls.
Once 95/3, which appeared to be a solid start, quickly turned into 95/7 as Pakistan's bowlers went on a rampage in Perth. Eventually, they put up 130/8 on 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.