From the brink of defeat, Zimbabwe managed to produce one of the most famous victories in their history by defeating Pakistan by one run and all but knocking out the 2009 T20 World Cup champions. In 18 T20Is between the nations, it was just the second time Zimbabwe had claimed victory over Pakistan.
Zimbabwe have already had an historic tournament. Competing in their first World Cup since 2016, they qualified for the Super 12s after defeating Ireland by 31 runs and then Scotland in a must-win game by five wickets.
The start to their Super 12s campaign began with a large slice of luck, as in a rain-reduced game against South Africa, the weather arrived just in time to save Zimbabwe from certain defeat. Instead the result went down as ‘match abandoned’, earning the Chevrons a single point.
Then, after compiling 130-8 off their 20 overs against Pakistan, Zimbabwe produced one of the great bowling displays to successfully defend the target. At one point, Pakistan needed just 43 runs from 38 balls with seven wickets in hand before a collapse and a last-ball run-out saw Zimbabwe win by a single run.
The upset, combined with South Africa and Zimbabwe sharing the points from their fixture, has thrown Group 2 wide open with each team still with three games to play.
Zimbabwe are still to play India, Bangladesh and the Netherlands. Whilst South Africa are still to play India, Pakistan and the Netherlands with both Zimbabwe and South Africa currently on three points apiece.
Simply put, if Zimbabwe beat Bangladesh and the Netherlands, and South Africa lose to India and Pakistan, Zimbabwe will qualify for the semi-finals. A series of results that are far from improbable.
Zimbabwe’s next two fixtures are their winnable games against Bangladesh and then the Netherlands, whilst South have their toughest challenges against India and then Pakistan. For South Africa, a loss against India combined with a Zimbabwe win over Bangladesh will make the Pakistan game an almost must-win fixture. If South Africa win one of those two games (and beat the Netherlands) they will be tied on points with Zimbabwe, and progression would come down to net run rate.
Should Zimbabwe lose two out of their final three games, they will almost certainly miss out on the last four.
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