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Muzarabani the dazzler as Zimbabwe prevail in Super Over thriller
Match Report

Muzarabani the dazzler as Zimbabwe prevail in Super Over thriller

Blessing Muzarabani snapped up five Pakistan scalps before taking two further wickets in the Super Over to set up a nerve-racking win for Zimbabwe in the final ODI of the three-match series.

The match witnessed a dramatic finale, which culminated in the boundary of the final delivery of the 50th over from tail-ender Musa Khan.

Man-of-the-match Muzarabani then removed Iftikhar Ahmed on the first ball of the six-ball shootout when the right-handed batsman launched a wild slog that landed in the hands of the fielder on the boundary rope.

The next delivery could also have resulted in a wicket as Khushdil Shah swung blindly at the ball but a lack of communication between the fielders meant no one grasped the chance.

Pakistan could accumulate only two singles in the Super Over as Khushdil was not so lucky the next time around and departed on the fourth ball while aiming for another swipe towards the leg-side region.

Zimbabwe sent Sikandar Raza and Brendan Taylor to knock off the paltry three-run Super Over target off the bowling of Shaheen Afridi.

Sikandar hit the winning runs courtesy a fielding lapse from Wahab Riaz, enabling Zimbabwe to end their losing rut and halt Pakistan's winning streak stretching since the latter half of the 2019 World Cup.

Despite the heartbreaking defeat, Pakistan still clinched the series 2-1 and added 20 points to their tally in the ODI World Cup Super League.

The fact that Pakistan came so close to pulling off a steep 279-run chase was down to centurion Babar Azam and Wahab's match-turning 100-run stand for the seventh wicket.

The stubborn partnership between the two was marked by immaculate fluency from Babar while Wahab toyed with the Zimbabwe bowlers with his belligerent strikes.

With Pakistan requiring 28 for a miraculous come-from-behind win, Wahab perished off the bowling of Muzarabani trying to clear the boundary fence.

His punchy contribution of 52, however, had taken Pakistan quite near to a series sweep as Babar took up the onus to score the bulk of the remaining runs.

The Pakistan skipper fronted his side's fight by blasting a six via a nonchalant flick of the wrists in the penultimate over before getting out by a sharp bouncer from Muzarabani.

Thereon, Pakistan needed 13 in the final over but Musa revitalised his team's dim hopes by caressing the ball for a splendid straight boundary.

The last ball saw him hammer another boundary towards the extra-cover region where a sloppy effort Tendai Chisoro helped Musa's resolve of levelling the scores.

Earlier, Zimbabwe's pace trio of Muzarabani, Richard Ngarava and Donald Tiripano had inflicted a lot of damage on Pakistan's top-order, leaving them in tatters at 88-5.

Debutant Khushdil had breathed some life into Pakistan's innings with a decent 33 in the company of Babar but he could not follow it up in the decisive Super Over.

Zimbabwe's challenging total of 278-6 was built around a terrific century from Sean Williams as the veteran all-rounder helped his team recover from a shaky start to power them along.

Williams' 135-ball 118 was complemented by a rapid blitz towards the end by Sikandar while Taylor had also brought up a half-century for himself.

On a day where the rest of the bowling attack could pick up a solitary wicket and proved to be too expensive, Mohammad Hasnain tore through the Zimbabwe line-up with his express pace.

The young speedster finished with figures of 5/26 and bowled three maidens in his intimidating spell of fast bowling.