Zimbabwe's Luke Jongwe (C back) looks up from a team huddle after their victory of the second Twenty20 international cricket match between Zimbabwe and Pakistan at the Harare Sports Club in Harare on April 23, 2021. (Photo by JEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP via Getty Images)

ZIMBABWE beat Pakistan for the first time in a Twenty20 international Friday (23), with four-wicket Luke Jongwe the star of a shock 19-run triumph at Harare Sports Club.

A maiden victory in 16 attempts seemed unlikely when the tourists restricted the hosts to a meagre 118-9 with Tinashe Kamunhukamwe (34) the only batsman to impress.

But right-arm medium pacer Jongwe (4-18) wreaked havoc and Zimbabwe bowled out Pakistan for 99 in 19.5 overs.

It was the lowest total defended in a T20 international in Harare and victory for Zimbabwe levelled the three-match series at 1-1 ahead of the decider at the same venue Sunday.

“It was a painful defeat,” admitted Pakistan skipper Babar Azam.

“We chased big totals in South Africa and should have crossed the line here easily but we didn’t play well.

“We played very poor cricket. Our middle order is struggling. In fact in this match our whole batting group collapsed. We have to do well and I am sure we will come back hard in the final game.”

Pakistan arrived in Zimbabwe brimming with confidence after completing a double in South Africa, winning a one-day international series 2-1 and a T20 series 3-1.

A T20 victory at home has been a long time coming for Zimbabwe as they last succeeded five years ago, against India.

“It was big turnaround for us after the first game,” said Brendan Taylor, the stand-in captain for rested Sean Williams, referring to the recovery from a 11-run loss in the first match two days ago.

“I would be lying if I said I was confident after our batting, but we dug deep and managed to squeeze Pakistan and our commitment and determination got us over the line.”

Set a run-a-ball victory target, Pakistan lost star opener Mohammad Rizwan for only 13 and Azam (41) was the lone batsman to offer much resistance.

Jongwe captured the prized wickets of Rizwan and Azam, and those of Haris Rauf and Arshad Iqbal as the Pakistan tail collapsed.

Rizwan, who made 82 in the first international, faced only 18 balls and hit one four before being caught by Tarisai Musakanda as Jongwe claimed his first victim.

Fellow opener Azam struck five fours and then became the fourth Pakistan batsman to fall, leaving the tourists on 78-4 after 15.5 overs.

With wickets falling cheaply, the tourists began the final over on 99-7 and needing 20 runs to snatch a dramatic victory.

But instead of a run fest, the wickets of Usman Qadir, Rauf and Iqbal fell without any addition to the scoreboard.

Earlier, opener Kamunhukamwe starred for Zimbabwe with his contribution including four fours in a 60-minute stand.

His innings ended when caught by Azam off the bowling of Danish Aziz, who was making his second appearance for the tourists.

Fellow opener Taylor, who missed the first match due to illness, lasted only seven balls before being caught by Mohammad Hafeez off a Faheem Ashraf delivery for five.

Six Pakistan bowlers captured wickets with Mohammad Hasnain (2-19) and Aziz (2-29) the most successful.

After the T20 series, Zimbabwe and Pakistan will play two Tests in Harare, beginning on April 29 and May 7.