West Indies hold back Zim
Windies 290 for 6 (Samuels 86, Hope 76, Muzarabani 2-60), beat Zimbabwe 289 all out (Taylor 138, Mire 45, Holder 4-35, Roach 3-55) by four wickets After yesterday’s defeat to the Windies in the International Cricket Council Super Six stage match at Harare Sports Club, the good thing for Zimbabwe is that qualification to the finals of this tournament and more importantly to the World Cup finals is still in their own hands.
This was well primed to be a maniac Monday of partying. At least Zimbabwe’s batting and then four late wickets during the Windies’chase pointed to that.
But that party has been put on hold and hopefully only until Thursday when Zimbabwe take on the United Arab Emirates, where a win will guarantee them passage to the finals.
The Windies made sure that the champagne bottles remained on ice and the locals will be hoping that it was only a case of not yet rather than not at all.
Zimbabwe remained on five points, while their opponents move to the top of the log with six points ahead of the final round of matches. It was a day of two contrasting halves for the locals and their fervent fans yesterday.
The first innings was characterised by a blast as Brendan Taylor (138) batted to his 10th one-day international century and Zimbabwe to 289 all out from 50 overs.
Taylor hit 20 boundaries, while he cleared the boundary on two occasions.
It was an innings characterised by eardrum splitting screams and applause after applause as Taylor entertained with the bat.
It was that kind of cacophony common at Pentecostal churches when the prophet promises his poor congregants houses and cars.
Here, Zimbabwe’s batting promised a wealth of success.
Yet, when it was the Windies turn, they just dampened everything with their calculative, cool and composed batting, especially with the second and third wicket partnerships between Evin Lewis (64) and Shai Hope (76) worth 72 ,as well as when the latter combined with Marlon Samuels (86) for 135.
After Zimbabwe took out Samuels, Hope, Jason Holder (6) and Shimron Hetmyer (13), there was a feeling that they could do to the Windies what they did to Afghanistan and Scotland, but the pair of Rovman Powell and Ashley Nurse held it together to deliver a win.
The Windies have already said that they are looking beyond this qualifier and are planning to win the World Cup, and this performance with the bat showed why.
However, they still need to beat Scotland tomorrow, otherwise they could miss out.
The Windies started brightly, with Chris Gayle seemingly getting himself in the groove with two successive sixes, but Blessing Muzarabani (2/36) had illuminated a gloomy stadium when he took out the dangerous blaster, with Kyle Jarvis taking the catch.
But unlike the other teams that have been savaged by Zimbabwe’s spin in this tournament, the Windies stood resolute and tamed the quartet of Raza (1/58), Graeme Cremer (2/63), Sean Williams (1/45) and Tendai Chisoro (0/38) until late on.
The Windies were not even halfway through their innings by time which the Zimbabwean fans were already looking ahead to Thursday.
There were so many good things in this defeat. Zimbabwe finally put an imposing score on the board and if they can get something like that, they could be well on their way to Sunday’s final as well as England and Wales.
Bar Cephas Zhuwao’s early dismissal for nought as well as Hamilton Masakadza’s (7) single digit score, the batsmen were generally satisfying, but Williams (34) and Raza (22) could have kicked on after playing themselves in.
Solomon Mire was hit by a ball on 22, retired hurt, passed medical tests and returned to take his score to 45 before he became one of Jason Holder’s four victims.