Harare, April 23: Zimbabwe registered their first win over Pakistan in Twenty20 cricket as the hosts came out on top in a low-scoring contest at the Harare Sports Club, levelling the three-match series at 1-1 in the process.
A 16th successive loss in games between the nations appeared on the cards when Zimbabwe laboured to 118-9 on a slow, used pitch.
Opener Tinashe Kamunhukamwe made 34 from 40 deliveries while Regis Chakabva added some much-needed impetus during his quick-fire 18, including hitting one of only two sixes in the innings.
However, Pakistan found the going tough in reply, even with captain Babar Azam making 41 at the top of the order.
The right-handed batsman hit five boundaries in a 45-ball knock that came to an end when he became the second of four wickets for Luke Jongwe, hitting a slower ball to Wesley Madhevere in the deep.
Pakistan were 78-3 at one stage but their final seven wickets went down for just 21 runs as they were bowled out for 99 in 19.5 overs.
Mohammad Rizwan (13) and Danish Aziz (22) were players to join Babar on double figures, with tail-end trio Usman Qadir, Haris Rauf and debutant Arshad Iqbal all dismissed in the final over without adding a run to the total.
Success at last for Zimbabwe
This was a long-overdue victory for Zimbabwe, and not just because of their sorry run of results against Pakistan. They had not won a T20 contest at the ground in Harare since beating India there back in June 2016, losing seven on the spin since.
However, their impressive triumph on Friday sets up a winner-takes-all showdown in Sunday's finale, a game that precedes a two-Test series.
Dialling up impressive numbers
Jongwe's final figures of 4-18 are the best recorded by a Zimbabwe bowler in a T20 international fixture.
He celebrated each success by taking off one shoe and pretending to make a telephone call. It is fair to say Pakistan did not have his number, as a shocking collapse condemned them to just a third defeat in 10 outings in the format.