T20 World Cup 2022: Dark-horse Zimbabwe shock Pakistan with 1-run defeat

Zimbabwe, the eternal dark horse in cricket, inflicted a major blow in the Super 12 stage of the ongoing T20 World Cup 2022. Up to defend a modest 130 against Pakistan, Zimbabwe denied Pakistan their maiden win in the last-over thriller on October 27 at Perth.

With that defeat, Men in Green are now staring at the possibility of an early elimination from the ICC tournament. Pakistan skipper Babar Azam possibly took a catch of the tournament but failed to inspire his men to defend the total, which appeared easy considering their batting line-up.

Despite winning their remaining games, they would still need favourable results from some of these other teams, i.e. India defeating South Africa, to enter the semi-final stages.

Zimbabwe began strongly, batting first, slipping to 95/7, eventually setting Pakistan a target of 131-runs. With their varied-yet-much-understated attack, the Zimbabweans snatched off an improbable victory from the jaws of the Pakistanis. Rattling Pakistan’s top order in the first five overs, Luke Jongwe’s dismissal of Iftikhar Ahmed reduced Pakistan to 36/3. Shan Masood-Shadab’s 4th wicket partnership for 52-runs steadied the chase before the Zimbabweans affected some unexpected changes to the match’s script.

Zimbabwe’s seamers bowled a tighter line than their Pakistan counterparts, finding some seam movement, which clicked for them. Brad Evans had Pakistan captain Babar Azam caught by Ryan Burl at the point. 7-balls later, Rizwan chopped Blessing Muzarabani’s delivery onto his stumps. 28/2 after their Powerplay – Pakistan’s 2nd lowest in T20 World Cups and their lowest vs Zimbabwe.

Zimbabwe’s spinners – Raza, Williams and Burl – squeezed the boundary flow for Pakistan yet could not restrict the running of 1s, 2s and 3s.

Immediately after Shadab plonked him for six, Raza bowled a knuckle-ball, which the batter miscued to Sean Williams, fielding at long-off. Haider Ali fell next to an LBW and struck plumb in front of the middle stump with a full, straight delivery from Raza. Ball-tracking confirmed it was hitting the middle of the middle stump. In the 16th and his final over, Raza got Shan Masood stumped off a leg-side wide; a quicker delivery. Sikandar Raza, exhibiting some spectacular form, reduced Pakistan to 94/6, putting Zimbabwe in the driver’s seat.

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Pakistan’s tension subsided somewhat when Mohammad Nawaz slammed Ngarava’s full-toss over fine leg for six. Zimbabwe’s win probability plummeted from 71% to 34%. Pakistan was still in the hunt when fast bowler Brad Evans took over. Evans had ten runs to defend off the final in his first game of the tournament.

  • 1st ball: Half volley, played between mid-off and extra cover for 3-runs.
  • 2nd ball: back-of-the-hand slower ball. Wasim hit it over mid-off for 4-runs.
  • 3rd ball: Another slower one on the 5th-stump. It was struck over Evans, however, only till mid-off. One run.

Pakistan required three of the last 3-deliveries.

  • 4th ball: Evans managed a dot beating Nawaz’s attempted cut.
  • 5th ball: Nawaz, trying to clear mid-off, found Zimbabwean skipper Ervine, who caught a head-high catch.
  • 6th ball: Shaheen Afridi ran, driving the ball too long-on. The fielder, standing closer in to prevent 2-runs, pounced upon it, throwing it to Regis Chakabva, who effected a fumbling run-out, handing Zimbabwe an unexpected but hard-fought victory.

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