Zimbabwe edge Pakistan by one run in Perth thriller

PERTH, Oct 27 (Reuters) - Zimbabwe all-rounder Sikandar Raza sensationally picked up 3-25 against Pakistan on Thursday as his side prevailed by one run in a final-ball thriller to register their first Super 12 win at the Twenty20 World Cup.

Pakistan, floored by an extraordinary last-ball defeat to arch-rivals India in their opening match on Sunday, find their tournament in tatters after slumping to 129-8 in 20 overs, having earlier restricted Zimbabwe to a modest 130-8 at Perth Stadium.

Mohammed Nawaz, fresh off a horror last over against India that cost his side the match, saw his nightmare tournament continued when he was caught for 22 on the penultimate ball of the match off the bowling of Brad Evans (2-25), who had an 11-run cushion in the final over.

Shaheen Afridi was run out on the final ball, prompting huge celebrations on the pitch by the Zimbabwe players.

"I really, truly believe in this group of boys," man-of-the-match Raza told reporters.

"Since I've been part of Zimbabwe cricket, I would rate that as the best victory we've had. There's no better stage. This is (the) World Cup, the biggest stage of all."

Pakistan's chase got off to a rocky start, squeezed at 36-3 in the eighth over with the world's top-ranked T20 batsman, Mohammed Rizwan, back in the dugout for 14 having chopped a delivery from two-metre tall Blessing Muzarabani (1-18) onto his stumps.

It was left to Shaan Masood to steady the ship with a composed 44, regularly exploiting the large outfield to run twos.

But Raza further pegged back the Asian side with his off-spin, having Masood stumped off a wide.

After losing the toss earlier, Pakistan's much-vaunted pace attack bowled too full in the powerplay overs, conceding 47 runs, although quick wickets to dismiss the Zimbabwe openers kept the rate in check.

Signalling a return to form after scoring one in his side's washout against South Africa on Monday, all-rounder Sean Williams (31) found the boundary three times and looked set to accelerate with the score at 95-3 and six overs remaining.

Spinner Shadab Khan (3-23) clean-bowled the left-hander before he had the chance though, triggering a collapse in which four wickets fell in six deliveries with no runs added.

Late runs from Evans (19 off 15 balls) gave 11th-ranked Zimbabwe the lift they ultimately needed to move to third position in Group Two.

"Today we were not up to the mark in all three departments," Pakistan skipper Babar Azam said.

Reporting by Joel Dubber in Perth; Editing by John Stonestreet and Ken Ferris

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