How did Zimbabwe win the last thriller against Pakistan? Hard lengths, hard lengths. After being tonked for a 3 and a four with fuller balls (the second one slower), Brad Evans adjusted to hit three of the last 4 balls at hard length. The result? Zimbabweans screamed their heads off and fell on the ground with joy. The fourth was a clawing sailor who hit the bat. point ball. The fifth, another tough length, was weakly scooped up the middle by Nawaz, and Mohammad Wasim Jr. sank to the bottom. He wasn’t on strike and probably knew the game was up. It was. The last ball was surprisingly fuller, but Shaheen could only hit halfway. They ran hard and there was even a fumble from wicketkeeper Regis Chakabwa, who had already won the tournament with a quick work on the leg side to take out Shan Masood, recovered to get the job done. He hopped up. So did the rest of the Zimbabweans. Babar Azam lowered his chin into his palms.
The unthinkable had happened. Pakistan lost to Zimbabwe by just 1 run in a low scoring thriller. With 131 runs, it seemed like a no-brainer for the Babar Azam-led team, but regular losing wickets and a majestic turn from Sikandar Raza, who won 3 wickets for just 25 runs, turned the game in the African nation’s favour.
— Haseeb Arslan (@haseebArslanUK) October 27, 2022
After the game, Pakistan captain Babar Azam said: “It’s very disappointing to play against my team. We weren’t up to scratch when it came to batting. Unfortunately we fold in the first six overs and then unfortunately Shadab fold and then the back to back wickets and the pressure built up. We didn’t make good use of the new ball for the first six overs, but later we made up for it. 10 more runs to Zimbabwe. We’ll sit together, discuss mistakes, train hard and come back in the next game.
Zimbabwean skipper Craig Ervine said: “We didn’t want to end our tournament with a qualifier. We wanted to come and do well against top teams. Based on our batting performance, we thought we were 20 runs short. Our fast bowlers hit the belt. As always, Raza came to the party and picked out a few gates. I think he took 3 men of matches; I’ll be broke when I get home (laughs). I want to thank the Zim supporters.”
Shadab holes in on a long off, fails to cross and Raza stuns Haider for a duck
First, Sikandar Raza, who reconfigured his action with the help of West Indian Sunil Narine, teased Shadab Khan, who had just hit a six, into another big hit and was bagged on a long-off. On the next ball, he flicked a ball that slid down the middle to catch new hitter Haider Ali right in front of him.
Sikandar Raza or Sunil Narine? How did the bowling campaign come about?
Sikandar Raza plays Sunil Narine a lot these days. From keeping the ball behind him as he jogs up to the variations he tries. It’s not a coincidence.
A few years ago, when he removed a malignant tumor following a bone marrow infection (at one point he feared it was cancer), he had to make a tough decision: quit bowling or change his actions.
“I don’t think I have any other option. After these two surgeries, I lost a lot of strength in my shoulder. I couldn’t really raise my hand and when I did I felt like the ball didn’t have much momentum. The ball didn’t come out at the pace I wanted. Sunil [Narine] has played a big role. I was at CPL and I watched him very closely and bugged him, asked him a lot of questions,” Raza told ESPNCricinfo at the time.
“Just being an offspinner with no variety is pretty hard to survive white ball cricket. This thought led to the variations and again Sunil also played a big role. I met him at BPL and had a very good conversation with him. And now to see some of the variations coming out of hand really nicely is very gratifying.”
Babar Azam leaves and tries to work over the line again
Babar Azam was out trying to flick against India. He was now trying to continue against Zimbabwe. Right arm nailer Brad Evan’s delivery landed center and off center and straightened up a bit. Babar didn’t want to go too far over, maybe more of a firm jab in the middle. But that straightening up, and the fact that he doesn’t really move much after setting up the initial base because he trusts his hands to do the work, means he’d get a little straightened up.
Mohammad Rizwan soon followed him. Muzarabani got one chasing back at a decent pace and Rizwan tried to chop him past the point but ended up chopping on his stumps. He was quite angry and nearly launched his bat swing at the stumps before he stopped himself. And when Iftiqhar Ahmed landed a legside catch in front of Jongwe, Pakistan was 36-3 in 7.4 overs.
“Didn’t expect that as he’s dropping his catches these days!” Shadab Khan trolls his captain Babar after a fabulous catch
When Babar Azam threw himself right on a slip to take a blinder off Shadab Khan and sack Chakabva, no one seemed more surprised than the bowler. There was that wide-eyed laugh as he walked over to Babar, who had this cute, amused look on his face at what he had just done.
Babar with a beauty!
We can reveal that this capture of Babar Azam is one of the moments that could be featured in yours @0xFanCraze Crictos of the Game packs of Pakistan vs Zimbabwe.
Get your pack from https://t.co/8TpUHbyGW2 to own iconic moments from each game. pic.twitter.com/tKwdjCrJdG
— ICC (@ICC) October 27, 2022
At the end of the game, Shadab explained his reaction on the field. “I wasn’t expecting that because he’s missing a bit of chances these days. That was a brilliant catch!”
Shadab would also say that Pakistan “has the best bowling attack in the World Cup”. “Our fast bowlers are the best and they showed that today.”
Now we know why Wasim Akram and Aquib Javed Mohammad Wasim Jr
Wasim Akram wanted him. So did Aquib Javed and Misbah-ul-Haq and we now know why. Mohammed Wasim Jr. played against Zimbabwe with a three-wicket draw. “He can bowl and he can hit, too,” Wasim told A Sports.
He hails from Waziristan, a barren mountainous region bordered by the Kurram River to the north, the Gumal River to the south, and Afghanistan to the west. His father, who worked in Dubai and Punjab, was away most of the time and was initially unaware that his son was interested in cricket. “Every time I called I asked him about his school and studies, I had no idea he liked cricket,” father Gul Mohammed once told YouTube channel Discover Pakistan. “It was his uncle Shahnawaz who supported his cricket.”
“I was very happy when he was called up for Pakistan and I would be very happy if he plays against India,” said the father with a smile. “I like him when he bowls fast and also when he hits sixes.”
He couldn’t play the game against India but played against Zimbabwe and even had a hat-trick chance at one point.