Zimbabwe’s stunning win pushes Pakistan closer to elimination from ICC T20 World Cup 2022 

Zimbabwe players acknowledge the crowd after their stunning win over Pakistan in Perth on Thursday night

Zimbabwe produced a stunning performance in Perth on Thursday night to shock Pakistan by 1 run, pushing the Babar Azam-led team closer to elimination from the ICC T20 World Cup 2022 since the Asian side suffered its second consecutive defeat in the group stage following a morale-deflating defeat at the hands of arch rivals India. 

Zimbabwe were clinical and immaculate with their bowling plans and in the field, even though they did not have enough runs on the board, to put tremendous pressure on the Pakistan batting lineup. 

After putting up a target of 131, Zimbabwe restricted Pakistan to 129/8 in their 20 overs, winning the contest by just 1 run on the final ball in what turned out to be yet another thrilling contest in this ICC T20 World Cup 2022

The only positive that came out for Pakistan in this match was their stunning performance from their fast bowlers led by Mohammad Wasim Jr. 

The right-arm fast bowler returned with impressive numbers of 4-0-24-4 while Shadab Khan took 3/23 and Haris Rauf was once again impressive with 4-1-12-1 in a searing space spell of fast bowling to restrict Zimbabwe to 130/8, giving Pakistan a perfect opportunity to notch up their first victory in the tournament.

Chasing a moderate total, Pakistan were in control at one stage when they needed 51 runs to win from 42 balls with 7 wickets in hand when it all started as they suffered a batting collapse and did not stage any sort of resistance or come back with the bat. 

Pakistan batsmen were brutally exposed by the Zimbabwe fast bowlers, who used the spongy bounce and extra pace of the surface to their advantage, and combined with the brilliance of their experienced player Sikandar Raza, they squeezed out a narrow victory — one that will be talked about for time to come.

Sikandar Raza produced a spell which will go down in the history of Zimbabwe as one of the finest, returning with 4-0-25-3, which included a double-wicket over. The dismissals of Shadab Khan (17) and Haider Ali (0) in the 14th over rattled Pakistan, while the stumping of Shan Masood in the 16th killed the contest for them.   

For a team that has continued to rely on their star opening pair of Babar Azam (4) and Mohammad Rizwan (14), it was yet another failure and yet another example that their batting strategies and approach aren’t working at all. 

After Babar Azam and Mohammad Rizwan were removed cheaply, there was no partnership in the middle that looked assuring enough to take Pakistan past the finish line. The left-handed batsman Shan Masood did team up with Shadab Khan to take Pakistan closer to the target with a 52-run stand for the fourth wicket, but they lacked conviction and self belief to chase down a small target. 

The defeat has pushed Pakistan closer to elimination from the first round itself given that they neither have any points so far nor do they have enough opportunities left to do so. 

Pakistan will now have to rely on the outcomes of other matches in order to make it to the semi-final round of this World Cup, but looking at how the team has fared along with wrong selection calls and lacking format-specialist players, it seems extremely difficult to go through.