Blessing Muzarabani powered Zimbabwe to a sensational Super Over victory over Pakistan in the third and final ODI in Rawalpindi on Tuesday.
Match tied (Zimbabwe won the one-over eliminator)
Zimbabwe – 278-6 in 50 overs (Sean Williams 118*, Brendan Taylor 56, Sikandar Raza 45; Mohammad Hasnain 5/26, Wahab Riaz 1/65).
Pakistan – 278-9 in 50 overs (Babar Azam 125, Wahab Riaz 52, Khushdil Shah 33; Blessing Muzarabani 5/49, Donald Tiripano 2/39, Richard Ngarava 2/62)
The two sides had ended the match tied on 278 after 50 overs.
After taking five wickets in regulation time, Muzarabani weaved his magic again as he claimed two scalps in the one-over eliminator from which Pakistan could only manage two runs.
Zimbabwe easily knocked off the three runs needed for the win – their first in Pakistan since 1998.
The victory also gave them their first ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup Super League points.
It was a remarkable match that had earlier seen Sean Williams smashing an unbeaten century that rescued Zimbabwe from a top-order calamity to finish on 278 for five in their 50 overs.
He went in with the tourists – who won the toss and opted to bat – reeling at 22 for three in the eighth over, having lost captain Chamu Chibhabha for a duck, Craig Ervine for one and Brian Chari for nine.
Just like they did in the second ODI, Williams and Brendan Taylor took on the job to repair the damage with huge responsibility, sharing a fourth-wicket stand of 84 that was only broken when the latter departed for 56.
Taylor’s brilliant knock, which included eight boundaries, came off 68 deliveries.
Wessly Madhevere chipped in with a valuable 33, with four fours, off 31 balls before his dismissal left Zimbabwe on 181 for five in the 38th over.
By then the innings was back on track and, with Sikandar Raza joining Williams, the visitors were now looking to post a competitive total.
Raza did not take long to settle in, blasting a quickfire 45, including one six and four boundaries, only to fall off the penultimate ball of the innings.
Zimbabwe totalled 278 for six from their 50 overs, with Williams finishing not out with 118.
He had faced 135 balls, hitting 13 boundaries and carting one over the fence, for his magnificent century.
Mohammad Hasnain was responsible for the damage to Zimbabwe’s innings as he grabbed five wickets for 26 runs from the 10 overs he bowled.
Pakistan’s chase got off to a disastrous start as Muzarabani and Richard Ngarava tore through the home side’s top-order, dismissing Imam-ul-Haq and Fakhar Zaman for four and two respectively after just eight balls of the innings.
Ngarava struck again in the fourth over, trapping Haider Ali lbw to leave Pakistan in all sorts of trouble at 20 for three.
Zimbabwe continued to turn in the screws and appeared well on course to a huge victory when Donald Tiripano, who replaced Carl Mumba for this match, bowled both Mohammad Rizwan and Iftikhar Ahmed to leave the home side tottering at 88 for five in the 18th over.
Captain Babar Azam and Khushdil Shah however put Pakistan’s chase back on track with a 63-run partnership that was broken when the latter edged a Muzarabani delivery to the wicketkeeper.
Azam and Wahab Riaz then seemed to have put the hosts firmly in the driver’s seat with a 100-run stand, only for Muzarabani to happen again.
In the space of six balls, he accounted for Wahab, Shaheen Afridi and finally Babar, for 125, to swing the pendulum back in Zimbabwe’s favour again.
That left Pakistan needing 13 runs from the final over, bowled by Ngarava, and a fumble in the field by Tendai Chisoro allowed a boundary off the very last delivery of the innings that saw the two sides tying the match.
In the Super Over, Muzarabani took two wickets with Pakistan only able to score two runs.
Taylor and Raza then stepped up to knock off the runs and seal a famous victory for Zimbabwe. -Zim Cricket.