Pakistan's hopes of reaching T20 World Cup semi-finals take enormous hit after second straight last-ball defeat; Babar Azam's side lose to Zimbabwe by one run in Perth after falling short in pursuit of 131; Sikandar Raza takes three wickets as Zimbabwe earn famous victory
Friday 28 October 2022 08:23, UK
Zimbabwe produced the second T20 World Cup upset in as many days with a thrilling one-run win over Pakistan in Perth subjecting their opponents to a second straight last-ball defeat and leaving their hopes of reaching the semi-finals hanging by a thread.
After Ireland shocked England at the MCG on Wednesday to blow Group 1 wide open, Zimbabwe beat Pakistan on Thursday to severely dent the 2009 champions' hopes of progressing from Group 2.
Pakistan, who suffered an agonising last-ball loss to India on Sunday, may miss out on the knockout stages even if they win their final three matches against Netherlands, South Africa and Bangladesh.
Chasing 131 for victory at Optus Stadium, Pakistan slumped to 36-3 inside eight overs and then 94-6 in the 16th, only for Mohammad Nawaz (22 off 18) - whose error-strewn, nine-ball final over had cost his side in Sunday's MCG classic - and Mohammad Wasim (12no of 13) to cut the requirement to four from four balls.
However, Nawaz was then caught at mid-off with three needed from two balls before Shaheen Afridi was run out off the last trying to complete a two that would have taken the game to a Super Over.
Zimbabwe's win was their first outside the first round of the T20 World Cup and leaves them on three points from two matches after their opening fixture against South Africa was wrecked by rain.
Pakistan had seemed favourites at the halfway stage after curtailing a brisk start from Zimbabwe - Craig Ervine's side raced to 31-0 after three overs - to limit their rivals to 130-8, with four wickets falling for no runs in six balls at one stage.
Pakistan's stars with the ball were Wasim (4-24) and Shadab Khan (3-23) although Haris Rauf shipped only 12 runs from his four overs and accounted for Ervine (19) at the end of the fifth over to snap an opening stand of 42 with Wesley Madhevere (17).
Wasim - who came into the Pakistan side in place of Asif Ali - pinned Madhevere lbw in the next over, while he and Shadab were both on hat-tricks at one point as four wickets tumbled across the 14th and 15th overs, including Zimbabwe's top-scorer Sean Williams (31), who was bowled by Shadab, and the talented Sikandar Raza (9), who hauled Wasim's slower-ball bouncer to deep square leg.
A score of 95-3 soon became 95-7 but an eighth-wicket stand of 31 between Brad Evans (19) and Ryan Burl (10no) helped lift Zimbabwe up to what proved a winning total.
Babar Azam (4) and Mohammad Rizwan (14) then fell cheaply for the second game running - Babar following his golden duck against India by skewing Zimbabwe quick Evans (2-25) to point in the third over.
Opening partner Rizwan then inside-edged Blessing Muzarabani onto his stumps before Iftikhar Ahmed (5) was caught off Luke Jongwe.
Pakistan recovered to 88-3 in the 14th over through a 52-run stand between Shan Masood (44) and Shadab (17), only to then lose two wickets in two balls as off-spinner Raza (3-25) had Shadab caught in the deep and trapped Haider Ali lbw for a golden duck.
When Masood was then brilliantly stumped by Regis Chakabva off the bowling of Raza, Pakistan were six down with 37 needed from 29 balls.
Nawaz and Wasim appeared to have fixed the situation with Nawaz's four off Evans from the second ball of the final over leaving Pakistan heavy favourites - but a single, a dot ball and two wickets followed, with Chakabva running out Shaheen from the last delivery after a fumble to spark wild Zimbabwe celebrations.
"I really, truly believe in this group of boys," man-of-the-match Raza told reporters. "Since I've been part of Zimbabwe cricket, I would rate that as the best victory we've had. There's no better stage. This is (the) World Cup, the biggest stage of all."
Pakistan play Netherlands in Perth on Sunday (7am UK time), with Zimbabwe facing Bangladesh in Brisbane earlier the same day (3am UK time).