Zimbabwe fall 12 runs short of beating Pakistan in 1st T20I

Rizwan’s unbeaten 82 and Qadir’s three-for seal it for Pakistan

Pakistan 149 for 7 (Rizwan 82*, Madhevere 2-11, Jonwe 2-24) beat Zimbabwe 138 for 7 (Ervine 34, Qadir 3-29, Hasnain 2-27) by 11 runs

Zimbabwe fell 12 runs short of beating Pakistan in a T20I for the first time after being well-set in chase of 150. A 56-run third wicket stand between Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Craig Ervine put Zimbabwe on 77 for 2 in the 11th over but Babar Azam’s masterstroke to use Mohammad Hafeez’s offspin, after he has only bowled one over in 14 T20Is since November 2018, sparked a collapse that saw Zimbabwe lose 4 for 18 in 18 balls and left too much for the lower-order to do. Luke Jongwe’s 30 off 23 balls almost pulled off a coup but Haris Rauf defended 20 off the last over to ensure Pakistan took the series lead.

Pakistan’s total was almost single-handedly built by Mohammad Rizwan, who racked up his fifth score of 50 runs or more in his last eight T20I innings, and made 82 of their 149. No-one else contributed more than 15 runs. Pakistan particularly struggled against Zimbabwe’s spinners – Wellington Masakadza and Wesley Madhevere, who conceded 32 runs in five overs between them – and will continue to look for solutions to make their middle-order tick.

Zimbabwe’s misses and one hot take

High catches evaded Zimbabwe who put down two chances inside the powerplay that could have changed the complexion of the Pakistan innings. After dismissing Azam early, Zimbabwe had the chance to get rid of Rizwan on 13 when he top-edged a pull off Richard Ngarava in the fifth over. Kamunhukamwe had to dive forward to take the chance but only almost fell on his face for his efforts. In the next over, Fakhar Zaman drove aerially to mid-on where Sean Williams was stationed. He had to backpedal to get to the ball and did but it burst through his hands. Zaman’s drop only cost seven runs but Rizwan went on to an undefeated 82.

More opportunities came. But they still went down. An over after that, Hafeez offered Masakadza a return catch but the left-arm spinner struggled to pick the ball up at head height. At the start of the 13th over, Richmond Mutumbami put down a regulation catch off Danish Aziz’s edge.

In all of that, Zimbabwe managed to pull off a blinder. Ngarava timed his leap at short third man perfectly when Hafeez tried to hit a short and wide ball over the in-field and didn’t get enough on it. Ngarava took the catch to his right and held on even as his elbows hit the ground when he landed.

Rizwan’s last over burst

After restricting Pakistan to 96 for 4 in 15 overs, Zimbabwe would have been eyeing keeping them to around 130 and very nearly got there. They did not concede any boundaries in overs 16, 17, 18 or 19 but Rizwan put that right with a final over burst. He waited for an Ngarava slower ball and bisected the gap between mid-off and cover-point, then went aerial over cover before Ryan Burl cut it off to ensure there was only two runs, but then cleared cow corner despite a good effort to take the catch and found fours through the covers and fine leg to take 20 off the final over.

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