CLIFFHANGER!…Chevrons stun Pakistan in final ball T20 World Cup thriller

The Chronicle

Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter

ZIMBABWE produced one of their best ever displays in international to stun Pakistan by one run in an International Cricket Council Men’s T20 World Cup Super-12 Group 2 encounter at Perth Stadium in Perth, Australia yesterday.

Sean Williams top scored for Zimbabwe with 31 off 28 balls as the Chevrons posted 130/8 in 20 overs before they closed out Pakistan at 129/8 for a famous victory.

Chevrons salute fans at Perth Stadium in Perth, Australia yesterday

Pace bowler Brad Evans, whose late cameo of 19 runs off 15 deliveries at number nine took Zimbabwe to a fairly decent tota,l held his nerve when he was handed the task of bowling the last over of the match in which Pakistan required 11 runs for victory.

The 25-year old Evans conceded nine runs but what mattered is that Pakistan never got the runs they required. Pakistan lost two wickets in that last over, Mohammad Nawaz dismissed by Evans for 22, skipper Craig Ervine with the catch before Shaheen Shah Afridi was run out right at the end.

Player of the Match Sikandar Raza had laid the foundation for the win by picking up three wickets for 25 runs in his four overs against the country of his birth.

It was the third time that Raza has been adjudged the most outstanding player in the five matches that Zimbabwe have played so far in the tournament.

Zimbabwe find themselves third in Group 2 with three points and have dented Pakistan’s chances of qualifying for the semifinals. Pakistan are second from bottom with zero points.

Batting first and putting up such a low score, Zimbabwe had to dig deep up their bowling sleeves to register a last ball victory. The match was Pakistan’s second consecutive last ball defeat in the Super 12 after their loss to India by four wickets.

The Chevrons tweaked their batting order for this match with Wesley Madhevere opening the batting with captain Craig Ervine and the pair put up a 42 first wicket partnership in over four overs.

Tasked with defending what seemed a low score, with odds on Pakistan’s side, the Chevrons started their defence well, with Evans taking the first wicket of Pakistan’s captain, Babar Azam for just four runs. The wicket was quickly followed by that another dangerous batsman, Mohammad Rizwan who fell for 14 runs off the bowling of Blessing Muzarabani.

Sikandar Raza picked up three wickets for 25 runs

Shan Masood was looking set for Pakistan before Raza had him stumped at 44 runs to give the Chevrons hope again.

Tasked with defending 11 runs from six balls, Evans conceded three in his first ball with Ervine putting a chase to save a four and the run saved proved to be a match winner for Zimbabwe. The next ball went for four and Pakistan looked like they were on the verge of victory before the following three balls produced just one run.

In his post-match remarks, Raza could not believe what had just transpired. He also believes the praise he received from Australian great Ricky Ponting was good motivation for him.

“I think I’m lost for words, my throat is dry probably because of all the emotions. I can’t tell you how proud I am of this bunch of boys. The way our seamers started at the top as well is just unbelievable and the way we backed it up in the field and the way we kept believing, I don’t think there are any words I can share right now.

“There was a small clip sent to me this morning of Ricky Ponting having a small word, I was excited, I was nervous, I was thrilled about today (yesterday). The motivation was always there. I just needed a little push, I thought that clip did a wonder so thanks very much,” said Raza.

Sean Williams top scored for Zimbabwe with 31 runs

Ervine was also impressed by the last ball victory and the performance his bowlers put to defend a low score.
“It’s so special especially for the work that we did to get into the Super 12 and we didn’t want our tournament to end there, we wanted to come in and play some really good cricket against some top teams and I think we did that exceptionally well today (yesterday).

“I thought after our batting performance we were 20 or 25 short but our seamers hit their straps early on and there was just a little bit more in the wicket compared to when we started off,’’ said the skipper.

The Chevrons are now in a promising position for a semi-final spot. Next up for Zimbabwe is a clash against Bangladesh on Sunday at the Brisbane Cricket Ground. –@brandon_malvin

Article Source: The Chronicle

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