Zimbabwe stun Pakistan by one run at T20 World Cup
Perth: Zimbabwe pulled off a stunning one-run upset over Pakistan on Thursday to put the Asian giants in danger of an early exit from the Twenty20 World Cup.
Zimbabwe were restricted to 130-8 after electing to bat first but their bowlers, led by Pakistan-born Sikandar Raza, choked Pakistan to 129-8 for a memorable win in a Super 12 thriller in Perth.
It was Pakistan’s second straight loss after their agonising, opening defeat to arch-rivals India, who top Group 2 with two victories out of two.
Zimbabwe, who came through the first round in Australia to reach the Super 12, are third behind South Africa.
Only the top two reach the semi-finals.
“It’s so special, especially for the work that we did to get into the Super 12s and we didn’t want our tournament to end there,” said Zimbabwe skipper Craig Ervine.
“We wanted to come in and play some really good cricket against some top teams, and I thought we did that exceptionally well today.”
Pakistan’s chase looked on course when Shan Masood, who made 44, put on a 52-run fourth-wicket partnership with Shadab Khan.
But Raza broke the stand with Shadab’s wicket and was to be Pakistan’s tormentor-in-chief, returning figures of 3-25.
Raza, a finger spinner, then trapped Haider Ali lbw on the next ball for nought to be on a hat-trick that was averted by Mohammad Nawaz.
Raza soon took down Masood (44 off 38 balls) and Nawaz attempted to get the remaining runs, 11 off the final over, but was run out on the penultimate ball of the 20th over.
Needing three on the final ball, new batsman Shaheen Shah Afridi ran one but got run out when sprinting for the second as Zimbabwe’s players erupted in celebration.
– ‘Best victory’ –
“It’s the best victory that I have been a part of with Zimbabwe,” man-of-the-match Raza told reporters.
“This is the World Cup, the biggest stage, and to beat Pakistan by one run…. the modest total, you have got to do everything to defend it, and we did.”
Pakistan are fifth in the group and next play the Netherlands at the same Perth venue on Sunday.
They must win their remaining three matches and hope other results go their way to stand any chance of moving into the final four.
“To be honest, it’s hard, but it’s two days to go (before the next match) so we will sit together and come back strongly,” said skipper Babar Azam.
In Pakistan’s reply, Azam got off the mark with a boundary after seven dots, but soon got out to Brad Evans to extend his bad run in the tournament. He fell for a duck against India.
Mohammad Rizwan hit a four and a six but followed his partner back to the dugout after chopping an in-coming delivery from pace bowler Blessing Muzarabani on to his stumps.
Pakistan were in trouble at 36-3 when Luke Jongwe sent back Iftikhar Ahmed for five with his medium-pace bowling, before Masood and Shadab pulled things back for a while.
Zimbabwe’s openers Wesley Madhevere and Ervine had used the pace of Pakistan’s seamers to good effect with a string of boundaries in a 42-run stand.
But all-rounder Shadab’s 3-23 with his wrist spin and pace bowler Mohammad Wasim’s 4-24 held Zimbabwe — whose opening match in the Super 12 in Hobart was a washout — to what seemed a below-par total.
Zimbabwe lost four wickets on 95 — Sean Williams, Regis Chakabva, Raza and Jongwe — before Brad Evans took his team past the 120-run mark.
Williams was Zimbabwe’s top scorer with 31 off 28 balls.