Ireland – 268 for 7 in 50 overs (Paul Stirling 72, Gary Wilson 65, Niall O’Brien 50; Sikandar Raza Butt 3/49) Zimbabwe – 270 for 5 in 48.3 overs (Craig Ervine 101*, Kevin O’Brien 2/46)
Zimbabwe won by five wickets.
After a two-wicket victory to Zimbabwe in the first One-Day International (ODI) of the TSM Zimbabwe Cricket Cup, Ireland as expected showed more ability to cope with the conditions and improved their cricket, in batting especially, for the second match.
But Zimbabwe rose to the occasion and lifted their game even more. Craig Ervine led the way with 101 not out and Zimbabwe successfully chased down what could have been a difficult target to win the match, and therefore the three-match series, by five wickets with nine balls to spare.
Both teams made one change for this match. Zimbabwe brought in Tinotenda Mutombodzi in place of Malcolm Waller, while for Ireland Stuart Thompson was omitted for Niall O’Brien, who missed the first match due to a late arrival after his wedding last Saturday.
Zimbabwe won the toss on a hot, dry day and put Ireland in to bat.
In the third over, William Porterfield drove two overpitched deliveries from Tinashe Panyangara for four, but otherwise steady play against accurate bowling was the order of the day for Ireland, who made 19 in seven overs when Porterfield, who made no other runs, edged a ball from Luke Jongwe to second slip.
Jongwe had bowled well, but then Paul Stirling began to open up and scored 14 runs off his fifth over. With Ed Joyce as his new partner, Stirling played the leading part in bringing up the 50 in the 12th over, and ran to his own fifty off 56 balls. The pair added 66 in 14 overs before Sikandar Raza Butt broke the stand, trapping Joyce leg before wicket (lbw) for 17.
Niall O’Brien soon made his mark with a straight six off Raza, but this was actually a difficult chance to Chamunorwa Chibhabha, running round from long-on, and the fielder hurt his head as he fell in attempting the catch.
Another good stand was developing when Raza broke through with another lbw decision in his favour, Stirling falling for 72 off 77 balls.
Zimbabwe’s fielding was clumsy at times, but a brilliant effort by Malcolm Waller – acting as substitute for Chibhabha – ran out Andy Balbirnie for 12. Waller, who had not done well with the bat in previous matches and also missed a vital catch, seemed determined to atone for this in this match, and made several superb stops.
The score after 40 overs was 202 for four, not a good omen in view of Zimbabwe’s dismal record for death bowling. But then Raza took his third wicket as O’Brien, next ball after reaching fifty off 60 balls, holed out at long-on, and only 18 runs were scored in the next five overs.
The final five, however, were bad for Zimbabwe, although they did take two wickets, with Kevin O’Brien out to a fine low catch by Raza at long-on, and Gary Wilson unluckily run out for 65, his second fifty of the series. He batted more aggressively in the first match, facing only 55 balls and hitting three sixes and six fours.
The final total was 268 for seven wickets, no easy challenge for Zimbabwe. Raza, with three wickets for 49 runs, was the most successful bowler.
Chibhabha, monopolising the strike as usual, and Richmond Mutumbami gave Zimbabwe the sound start they needed, scoring 47 together for the first wicket before Mutumbami (14) miscued a ball to point in the eighth over, from Tim Murtagh. In the ninth over, Chibhabha followed – edging to the keeper off Kevin O’Brien for 30.
Craig Ervine and Sean Williams now had to rebuild the innings, and this they did impressively, running well between wickets with the occasional powerful boundary off the bad balls. The 100 came up in the 18th over, ahead of the required run rate. But yet again, there was not to be a really major partnership. They had put on 98 together when Williams (43) mistimed a drive and was caught at long-on: 149 for four in the 26th over.
Mutombodzi came out playing his strokes, and soon Ervine reached his fifty off 58 balls. The required run rate was now below five an over. Then, however, Ireland began to pull it back with more accurate bowling, by Murtagh and George Dockrell, and tight fielding, and Ervine found himself struggling to score.
Ireland believed they had Ervine on 59, edging to the keeper, but the umpire turned down the appeal. They did quickly get Mutombodzi, though, caught in the covers off a leading edge for 25 off 31 balls. Zimbabwe were 192 for four in the 37th over.
As Sikandar Raza came in, the required run rate was now over six. It soon became over seven, and Zimbabwe were entering dodgy territory.
Ervine at last began to respond to the situation, hitting Murtagh for two successive fours, but then escaped with a couple of risky strokes. The situation improved, and 27 were needed off the last five overs.
Raza then took over and raced to 33 off 29 balls before departing to a catch near the midwicket boundary. For victory, 13 runs were now needed off 21 balls. With three runs needed to win, Mooney bowled to Ervine on 97, and the batsman punched the ball back down the ground to the boundary, to win the match and bring up his century at the same time.
It was a more convincing victory than in the first match, and Zimbabwe now have to guard against relaxing in the third and final match of the TSM Zimbabwe Cricket Cup on Tuesday. A clean sweep against their nearest rivals in world cricket must be the aim. Ervine turned in a major performance today; others were “useful” rather than “major”.
Who will stand up for Zimbabwe and turn in a major performance on Tuesday?
Ireland – 219 for 8 (Gary Wilson 70*, Ed Joyce 53; John Nyumbu 2/35, Wellington Masakadza 2/45) Zimbabwe – 222 for 8 in 49 overs (Sikandar Raza Butt 60*, Craig Ervine 60; George Dockrell 2/29, Andy McBrine 2/53)
Zimbabwe won by two wickets.
Contests between Zimbabwe and Ireland have a history of exciting finishes, and this first of three One-Day International (ODI) matches of the TSM Zimbabwe Cricket Cup was no exception.
Neither team played its best cricket, both had their chances, but in the end the major factor in a very tight Zimbabwe victory was a superb innings of 60 not out by Sikandar Raza Butt that steered his team home with just one over in hand, at Harare Sports Club.
Zimbabwe gave a debut to Wellington Masakadza, who replaced Brian Chari, although he was really taking over the role of Graeme Cremer, who will miss the whole series with an ankle injury.
Ireland played quite an experienced team, under the captaincy of William Porterfield.
Zimbabwe won the toss and decided to bowl, putting Ireland in on a pitch with a little green on it, and hoping to get some early movement.
The pitch did not help the bowlers very much, and three overpitched deliveries out of the first eight were impressively hit through the gaps to the boundary by the Irish batsmen.
Paul Stirling was mainly responsible for this brisk start, scoring 24 off 24 balls, and helped by an inaccurate opening spell from Luke Jongwe, before he clipped a catch to midwicket off Tinashe Panyangara. Porterfield followed for nine off the following over, and Ireland were 39 for two in the 10th over. The scoring rate slowed, and Zimbabwe had moved ahead when Andy Balbirnie fell for five.
The experienced Ed Joyce, also of Sussex, was joined by Andy Wilson, also of Surrey, and these two steadied the innings. They added 83 at almost five an over, working the ball skilfully round the field rather than finding the boundary.
However, Joyce was fortunate as, on 36, he was dropped by the usually reliable Malcolm Waller at long-on, and survived a stumping chance in the following over. He went to his fifty off 85 balls, but on 53 was caught in the covers driving at a ball from John Nyumbu. Ireland were 137 for four in the 36th over.
Then followed a period of Zimbabwe dominance, as three more wickets quickly fell, reducing Ireland to 176 for eight in the 46th over. But Wilson was still there, and the number 10, Andy McBrine, weighed in with a very valuable 23 not out off 14 balls. With Wilson staying to the end for an unbeaten 70, Ireland totalled 219 for eight. They gave several catches, or chances, to the boundary fielders – an unfortunate consequence of the smaller grounds in Ireland where they are used to such strokes carrying for six.
Panyangara, who took one for 25 in seven overs, was again more effective with the new ball than at the death, while the spinners took most of the wickets.
Overall, batting, bowling and fielding alike were patchy, and Zimbabwe were certainly well below their best in the field. The debutant Masakadza, however, took two excellent catches, and bowled usefully to take two for 45 in his 10 overs.
Zimbabwe lost their first wicket at 17, in the fifth over, as Richmond Mutumbami (9) tried unsuccessfully to check a big hit against John Mooney and skied a simple catch to mid-on.
Then at 44 Chibhabha, who had looked in no trouble, carelessly hit a bad ball low straight to short fine leg and departed for 22: 44 for two after nine overs.
Craig Ervine was batting fluently, and Sean Williams seemed very determined to dominate the bowling after some patchy form recently. However, Williams would not have satisfied himself with an innings of 24, being out on 98.
The 100 came up in the 22nd over, but at 124 Elton Chigumbura was out for a rather edgy 16. Zimbabwe needed a major partnership, instead of ones that got off the ground but failed to mature.
Ervine reached his fifty off 65 balls, but he and Sikandar Raza Butt seemed to realise that the match was in a delicate stage and played with great care. But Raza cannot play this game really for long, and soon began to attack and find the boundary. However, Ervine fell for 60, at 152, caught at the wicket off the off-spinner McBrine – the fifth wicket down.
Trouble came closer as Waller, bogged down for 12 balls for a single, holed out with a catch straight to deep midwicket. At 161 for six, Zimbabwe needed another 59 runs in 13 overs. Raza was the key man, especially as Jongwe ran himself out for five: 171 for seven.
Wellington Masakadza proved a calm, capable partner while Raza continued to bat with judicious aggression. Raza brought up his fifty (65 balls) and the team 200 in the 46th over, to the greatest applause of the day.
At 209, though, Masakadza (10) was run out attempting a risky third run, but Panyangara played his part superbly. The pair ran well, and the match ended in the penultimate over, when Panyangara suddenly produced a handsome off-drive that beat the field and travelled to the boundary – one of the best strokes of the day.
Raza finished unbeaten with 60, off 72 balls, but with only four fours, his innings being notable chiefly for fine placement and running. Panyangara rose to the occasion with eight not out.
Of the bowlers, there were two wickets each for Dockrell and McBrine, the former being the best of the bowlers with two for 29.
In the end it was a thrilling victory for Zimbabwe, but overall it was a rather mediocre performance against an Ireland team not yet fully acclimatised. In batting, bowling and fielding they were well below their best.
The message should be to Zimbabwe: raise your game, or you may not be so lucky next time!
Zimbabwe – 161 all out in 38.5 overs (Richmond Mutumbami 67, Chamunorwa Chibhabha 48; Bilal Asif 5/25, Imad Wasim 3/36) Pakistan – 162 for three in 34 overs (Asad Shafiq 38*, Bilal Asif 38)
Pakistan won by 7 wickets with 96 balls remaining.
Zimbabwe went into this match with the chance of winning the three-match One-Day International (ODI) leg of the QMobile Cup 2015 Series presented by Brighto Paints, if they played as they had done for 70 percent of the second match.
However, their middle-order batsmen seemed to have no intention of competing.
After the openers had laid a superb platform for a high score, the remainder of the team gave one of Zimbabwe’s worst displays against spin bowling, even worse than that of the first ODI, and Pakistan had no difficulty in winning the series.
Zimbabwe brought in Malcolm Waller and Tinotenda Mutombodzi for Hamilton Masakadza and the injured Graeme Cremer, for their first match of the series. Pakistan were without their captain, Azhar Ali who had a foot injury, and also left out Yasir Shah, who had bamboozled Zimbabwe with his leg-spin in the first ODI and batted so well in the second.
Sarfraz Ahmed took over as captain, and he decided to put Zimbabwe in to bat on a sound batting pitch.
The Zimbabwe innings could scarcely have started better or continued worse. Richmond Mutumbami was promoted to open the batting with Chamunorwa Chibhabha, but he had little to do for several overs as Chibhabha monopolised the strike to great effect. When he finally got to face for more than a couple of balls, he hit Imad Wasim for a fine six over long-on, but was then dropped near the square-leg boundary.
The 50 came up in the 12th over. Mohammad Irfan, frustrated, resorted to violence with some vicious bouncers, one of which caught Mutumbami a fearful blow on the head and sent his helmet flying. He required a considerable amount of treatment, but bravely continued his innings.
The score was taken to 89 in the 21st over before Chibhabha gave a simple return catch to the off-spinner, Bilal Asif, little realising that he had started an epidemic.
The score did reach 100 before the next wicket fell, and then they tumbled one after another. Asif bowled his 10 overs on the trot, raking five wickets for 25 to a mixture of gentle miscued catches and batsmen bowled while hitting across the line.
Mutumbami survived the carnage from the spinners, only to edge another bouncer from Irfan to the keeper. His 67 was a superb innings, scored off 85 balls and including five fours and two sixes.
Nine wickets were down for 144 runs, and after the openers every subsequent batsman was out for single figures. Luke Jongwe showed some fight to break the trend, taking the score past 150 and reaching 16 not out. His last-wicket partnership with John Nyumbu brought Zimbabwe 17 runs – the second-highest partnership of the innings.
After Asif, Imad Wasim took three wickets for 36. The Zimbabwe batsmen, like a herd of lemmings, had again thrown themselves over the cliff to destruction against quality spin, this time more spectacularly than ever.
Why? Perhaps it has much to do with the age-old Zimbabwean inferiority complex, which says something like, “We are a small country and we are not good enough to win the series.”
It is a form of choking, and it will take all the skill of the coach, Davenell Whatmore, to eliminate it from the Zimbabwean thinking.
The innings lasted less than 39 overs, so Pakistan were able to start their innings before lunch.
As the Zimbabwe team took the field, they had to face a volley of abuse from a small number of spectators who were, it might be said, rather disgruntled with what they had seen from their team with the bat.
In the second over, Zimbabwe failed again, as Bilal Asif edged a ball from Jongwe to slip, only for Nyumbu to put it down. Three balls later he skied a ball high towards third man, which was just out of reach of Sean Williams, who raced forward in a gallant attempt to take the catch. Lady Luck had obviously decided that Zimbabwe deserved no favours.
Lunch came after eight overs, with the score 29 for no wicket. Asif had 22 of these. He hardly looks an opening batsman, but he bashed about quite effectively. He continued to do so to the tune of 38 off 39 balls, when his innings was cut short by a superb diving catch by Mutombodzi at long-on, the lucky bowler being Nyumbu, and the score 58 for one.
The other opener, Ahmed Shehzad, was not in good form and played carefully, but Mohammad Hafeez was eager to finish the match quickly. However, he went for a brisk 13, edging a leg-side ball from Tinashe Panyangara to the wicket-keeper: 74 for two. The 100 came up in the 23rd over and then Shehzad, trying to break his shackles, went down the pitch to attack the left-arm spin of Williams, and was bowled for 32: 104 for three.
Brian Chari was keeping wicket, as Mutumbami did not take to the field after his batting injury.
That ended Zimbabwe’s positive achievements in this series. Asad Shafiq (38 not out) and Shoaib Malik (34 not out) steered Pakistan to a seven-wicket victory, and a two-one lead in the series.
Their top order was a weakness almost throughout the tour, but the biggest difference between the teams appeared to be that they expected to win, while Zimbabwe did not.
Of the Zimbabwe bowlers, Panyangara did well with one wicket for 22 off seven overs, while Williams bowled his 10 off the reel to take one for 29. Two batsmen did well; two bowlers did well. The remainder might as well not have played.
Zimbabwe – 276 for 6 in 50 overs (Chamunorwa Chibhabha 90, Elton Chigumbura 67; Wahab Riaz 4/63) Pakistan – 256 for 8 in 48 overs (Shoaib Malik 96, Aamer Yamin 62;Tinashe Panyangara 2/44)
Zimbabwe won by 5 runs on the Duckworth-Lewis method.
After one of their worst matches in recent years on Thursday, Zimbabwe looked an entirely new, recycled team for most of their second match against Pakistan at the same venue – the Harare Sports Club.
At one stage they looked like overwhelming the visitors by a margin of well over 100 runs in the second One-Day International (ODI) match of the QMobile Cup 2015 Series presented by Brighto Paints.
But then the old Zimbabwe resurfaced, they took their foot off the throat, and in the end were relieved to go off the field with two overs still to be bowled and accept a victory by a narrow margin of five runs under Duckworth-Lewis regulations.
The lower Pakistani batting order did a fine job in taking advantage of Zimbabwe’s complacency and taking their team so close to a victory that had looked totally impossible for most of their innings.
But it must not be forgotten that most of the match saw Zimbabwe at their best. Much of the credit for this must go to the Zimbabwe coach Davenell Whatmore, who somehow managed to pull his team together magnificently after their increasingly inept performances during the first three matches of the tour.
Mr Whatmore was clearly confident his chosen players could only do better than they had on Thursday, as he played the same 11, while for Pakistan Ahmed Shehzad and Imad Wasim stood down for Bilal Asif and Asad Shah. This was described as player rotation, but it was perhaps a sign that Pakistan were a little overconfident to do so before the series was decided.
The weather was again hot and partly cloudy, but the pitch was greener than previously this tour, although it was not expected to help the seamers extravagantly. In the event, it gave the spinners rather more help, and the ball came on to the bat better, making run-scoring easier.
Pakistan, hoping for early seam movement, put Zimbabwe in to bat when they won the toss.
This time Hamilton Masakadza opened the batting with Chamunorwa Chibhabha, but he had scored only seven when he skied a hook and was caught at long leg.
Then came a sound and solid partnership between Chibhabha and Brian Chari. The 50 came up in the 14th over and the 100 in the 25th, with Chibhabha especially looking increasingly confident. The pair added 91 in 21 overs before Chari departed for a very useful 39.
Sean Williams this time made only 10 before edging a ball from Mohammad Irfan to second slip, as the fast bowler worked up some serious pace and found some lift. Zimbabwe were at this stage 132 for three in the 31st over.
Chibhabha continued impressively on his way, until on 90 he flashed at a wide ball from Riaz and edged the ball to the keeper. He had faced 125 balls and hit eight fours, and must have been disappointed to fall short of his century again, after his dismissal on 99 in Pakistan earlier this year.
The score was then 191 for four in the 43rd over.
Then came the best batting of the innings: a magnificent stand of 62 in only six overs between Elton Chigumbura and Sikandar Raza Butt. In that period they tore the usually respected Pakistani bowling to ribbons with a series of brilliant strokes all over the field. Chigumbura ran to his fifty off 46 balls, and was eventually out for 67 off 55, bizarrely hitting his own wicket in chasing a wide ball. Unusually, he hit only four fours and two sixes, the first being a massive hit on to the roof of the massive stand at midwicket. He left at 253 for five in the penultimate over.
In the final over Raza fell for 32 off 21 balls. Also in at the death was Richmond Mutumbami, who slickly scored 14 runs from the four balls he faced. The total was 276 for six wickets, not quite a daunting total, but light years better than anything Zimbabwe had produced previously during the tour.
A different team with the same names had turned up this time.
Riaz took four wickets for 63, having suffered badly from Chigumbura and Raza. Surprisingly, Yasir Shah – who had so bamboozled the Zimbabweans two days earlier – bowled only six overs, conceding 30 runs. The batsmen faced him much more confidently this time, although not without difficulty at times.
Pakistan gave further signs of overconfidence in entering this match as their top order seemed quite unprepared mentally to chase a large target. In the first over Bilal Asif went for a big hit and was caught at mid-off.
Two overs later, the same bowler – Tinashe Panyangara – bowled a superb delivery that broke in and uprooted Azhar Ali’s middle stump. Then Luke Jongwe got in on the act, rather more fortunately, as Asad Shafiq slashed at a ball outside the off-stump and edged a catch to the keeper.
Pakistan were reeling at 17 runs for three wickets.
The two most experienced players, Mohammad Hafeez and Shoaib Malik, now dug in, with Hafeez adept at hitting the loose ball for four, but they found difficulty in rotating the strike.
Perhaps feeling under pressure to do so, Hafeez looked for a quick single to midwicket, where the substitute fielder Tinotenda Mutombodzi made a superb diving save. Malik tried to send him back and he was easily run out for 27.
Pakistan were now on at 40 for four after 14 overs.
Pakistan brought up their 50 in the 18th over, but at 56 Sarfraz Ahmed drove a simple catch into the covers off Chibhabha and departed for nine. Mohammad Rizwan briefly looked dangerous, as he has been all tour, but his innings was cut off at eight by a brilliant diving catch by John Nyumbu at slip, off Graeme Cremer. In his next over, however, Cremer injured his ankle as he leapt in vain for a hard, high return hit from Aamer Yamin and had to be helped from the field.
Yamin finally brought some much-needed spirit to the Pakistan batting. He hit out freely, and this was the right tactic to employ against Zimbabwe, who by now seemed themselves to have become complacent with the near-certainty of victory.
Three chances went down and a stumping was missed within a few overs. Finally a catch was held – but it was by a member of the ground staff who responded well to the six Malik hit over midwicket to reach his fifty, which came off 73 balls.
Yamin soon followed, hitting Nyumbu for a big six to bring up his own fifty off 54 balls, and Zimbabwe looked increasingly ragged. The century partnership was passed, although the required run rate was still about eight an over. Zimbabwe finally broke through after a stand of 111, as Yamin edged a ball from Chigumbura – finally forcing himself to bowl – to the keeper. His 62 lasted 68 balls and included five fours and four sixes.
The Pakistan score was now 187 runs for seven wickets in the 40th over.
Chigumbura ran out Riaz for four, following which there was a brief interruption by rain. Yasir Shah also batted with spirit, while Malik continued his steady game, despite fading light.
The last two Pakistan wickets needed 51 to win off the last five overs. It got down to 21 runs off the last two. Pakistan still had a chance, with Malik on 96 and Shah on 32.
In the end, Zimbabwe scraped home in a match where they should have walked home.
Instead of great celebrations, it is to be hoped that they will realise they have had a very serious wake-up call. Their apparent taking of victory for granted and their inability to drive home their massive advantage and go for the kill nearly brought them an embarrassing defeat