Things only got worse for Pakistan following their heartbreaking loss to India on the last ball of their tournament opener, as their T20 World Cup ambitions shattered after collapsing to a one-run loss to Zimbabwe in a gripping encounter at Perth on Thursday. After limiting Zimbabwe to a respectable 130 for 8, Babar Azam’s team struggled in their pursuit, ending at 129 for 8.

Zimbabwe’s Sikandar Raza emerged as the unexpected hero, taking three wickets for 25 runs with his off-spin as the African team won its first Super 12 game.

Pakistan had a difficult start to their chase against the pacers, but it was predicted that their hitters would have little trouble against the spinners. However, spin ended up being their undoing for the day.

The batsmen committed hara-kiri against Zimbabwe’s part-time off-spinner Raza as they were coasting at 88 for three after 13.3 overs, falling to 94 for six in 15.1 overs as Raza took three wickets in four balls. He got the well-positioned Shan Masood stumped down the leg-side on the first ball of his subsequent over after Shadab Khan and Haider Ali had fallen off consecutive deliveries. Pakistan recovered from being 36 for three thanks to a 52-run partnership between Masood (44 off 38 balls) and Shadab (17 off 14 balls). The pursuit was sidetracked by their prompt dismissals.

Pakistan must now defeat South Africa, Bangladesh, and the Netherlands in all three of their remaining Group 2 matches to get to the semifinals, and they must also pray that other outcomes go their way. The top two teams in each group advance to the final four.

Pakistan lost both of its initial matches and is now in fifth place in Group 2. After the victory, Zimbabwe is in the third position with three points, tied with South Africa in second. After their initial match was called off with South Africa only a few blows away from victory, earning them a point, luck has been on Zimbabwe’s side.

Brad Evans was the other standout player for Zimbabwe, who was playing in his first game of the competition. He contributed a few significant knocks with the bat to assist Zimbabwe to go from 95 for 7 after 14.4 overs to 126 for 8 after scoring 19 off 15 balls at No. 9. They had something to battle with a total of 130 for eight. With Pakistan holding a four-wicket advantage going into the last over, he was given the task of holding off 10 runs.

T20 World Cup: Pakistan’s dreams of reaching the semifinals suffer a major setback after shocking Zimbabwe; check the Full Group 2 points table

After Mohammad Nawaz and Mohammad Wasim scored seven runs off the first two balls, bowler Evans was under pressure. It simplified the problem to a four-off-four gettable balls situation. Evans, though, bowled three calm deliveries, allowing only one run and picking up a wicket. Nawaz attempted to clear the infield with his next swing, but he was caught. Shaheen Afridi had three runs to score off the last ball.

Afridi smashed the ball to long-on with two required to tie the game as Evans bowled full on the fifth stump. By charging in and putting the Pakistani duo under strain for the second run, the fielder Raza performed a commendable job. When receiving the one-bounce throw, wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva stumbled, but he recovered brilliantly and removed the bails before Afridi’s last-ditch dive sent the Zimbabweans into a frenzy of delight.

Pakistan’s skipper, Babar Azam, was left to lament his side’s lackluster performance “In my squad, it was a disappointing performance. In terms of batting, we fell short. We had a rough opening six overs, but Shadab and Shan put up a partnership before Shadab was gone and then we lost back-to-back wickets, which put pressure on the batsmen. Together, we’ll reflect on our errors and prepare for the upcoming game with vigor.”

Craig Ervine, the captain of Zimbabwe, praised his team for their exceptional performance. We didn’t want our campaign to stop there, especially after the effort we put in to qualify for the Super 12. I believe we accomplished it well today,” Erwine said. “We wanted to come in and play some outstanding cricket against some great teams.