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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Zimbabwe stun Pakistan by one run

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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 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 India, who top the group with two victories out of two.


Zimbabwe, who came through the first round in Australia to reach the Super 12, are third in Group 2 behind South Africa.


Only the top two reach the semifinals.


"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 Sikandar 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 running for the second as Zimbabwe's players erupted in celebration.


"Very disappointing performance by my team," said Pakistan skipper Babar Azam.


"We were not up to the mark in the batting."


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. -- AFP


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