PERTH. – Led by Sikandar Raza’s triple strike, Zimbabwe scripted a come-from-behind win to down Pakistan by one-run and make a seriously strong case for qualification to the semi-finals of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2022.
For the second game in a row, Pakistan let a winning position slip away from their hands in the last over of the game, as they failed to score four runs off the last 4 balls yesterday.
Chasing 131 for a win, Pakistan were comfortably placed mid-way through the 14th over at 88 for 3, with Shadab Khan and Shan Masood having stitched a half-century stand.
With victory in sight, and the possibility of improving on the Net Run Rate, Shadab had even launched an attack on Raza, tonking the spinner for a six over long on.
However, an attempt to repeat that in the next ball resulted in him mistiming it to the fielder at long off.
With only 43 runs needed off 38 balls, there still wasn’t enough reason for Pakistan to panic.
However, Raza trapped Haider Ali leg before off the first ball to trigger a collapse.
Chevrons celebrate a wicket against Pakistan.
In his next over, he even scalped the wicket of Shan Masood with a fast and flat delivery down the legside.
Masood fell over while trying to balance himself and the wicketkeeper swiftly whipped the bails off to reduce Pakistan to 94 for 6 in 15.1 overs.
The Zimbabwe bowlers used the dimensions of the field well with their lengths of operation on a fast and bouncy track.
The hard lengths proved difficult for the lower order batters to put away and Richard Ngarava especially troubled Mohammad Wasim with it.
However, with the required rate mounting up, a bluff yorker went wrong and Nawaz duly put away the full toss for a six and brought the equation down to 11 off the last over.
In the last over bowled by Brad Evans, Wasim cracked a full delivery down the ground for a boundary soon after Nawaz had picked three runs off the first balls to bring the equation down to 4 runs in 4 balls, and then reduced to 3 from 3.
The onus was once again on Nawaz in the last over, with the fate of the team in his hands, this time with the bat.And, he failed to take the team over the line yet again.
First, he was beaten by length delivery that zoomed past his chest and then top edged a swipe to mid-off, leaving Shaheen Afridi to get the remaining three runs off the last ball.
He, along with Wasim at the other end, scampered through for a non-existent two and was eventually run out.
Where do they go from here?
Having shared points with South Africa and beaten Pakistan, Zimbabwe are well placed to make a strong case for a semifinal berth.
They will now be heading eastward to Brisbane to face Bangladesh on Sunday with a ‘nothing to lose’ possibility no more applicable.
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– cricbuzz