It was never in doubt!..Zimbabwe storm into Super 12 after slaying Scotland

The Chronicle

Zimbabwe 133 for 5 (Ervine 57, Raza 40, Davey 2-16) beat Scotland 132 for 6 (Munsey 54, Chatara 2-14, Ngarava 2-28) by five wickets

ZIMBABWE had not played in a major ICC tournament in six years coming into this T20 World Cup, but they announced themselves as a team on the comeback trail as they marched into the Super 12 yesterday. Craig Ervine led with bat and in the field, as he anchored the Zimbabwean chase after managing his bowlers with pinpoint precision to keep Scotland to a gettable score, while Tendai Chatara and Sikandar Raza also made their experience count with tellin g contributions. 

This was only the 11th time in 55 attempts that Zimbabwe had won a T20I while chasing.

Asked to field first, Zimbabwe never allowed Scotland to get away from them. Chatara set the tone with a wicket in his first over and finished with figures of 2 for 14 in his four overs. He was well supported by Zimbabwe’s spin trio, who conceded only 46 runs in the eight overs they bowled. George Munsey’s half-century held Scotland together but their highest partnership was just 40 runs — for the third-wicket. Scotland also lacked the sort of turbocharged innings that Raza played to break the back of the chase.

Zimbabwe were nervy in reply and were 7 for 2 and 42 for 3 before Ervine and Raza put on 64 for the fourth wicket. Ervine dropped anchor and scored his sixth T20I 50, and his first at a World Cup, and by the time he was dismissed in the 17th over, Zimbabwe were within touching distance of a win.

If Scotland sensed an opening when Ervine fell with 14 needed off the last three overs, Milton Shumba and Ryan Burl shut the door, rotating the strike calmly and finishing the job in just nine balls. Burl hit the winning runs in the 19th over when he lofted Safyaan Sharif over mid-on for four. Victory with more than an over remaining ensured Zimbabwe topped their group. They will join Group 2 in the Super 12, which includes their neighbours South Africa, India and Pakistan.

Zimbabwe’s fielding has not always held up in pressure moments, but they were committed to the cause in this match. When Michael Jones sliced the last ball of Chatara’s opening over cover, Raza ran back from the ring and took the catch over his shoulder as he tumbled onto the turf, to give Zimbabwe their first incision. Three overs later, Matthew Cross pulled a Richard Ngarava short ball in the direction of Wessly Madhevere at midwicket. Madhevere had to launch himself to his left and took the catch in full flight to leave Scotland 24 for 2 in the fifth over.

Later in the innings, Milton Shumba was down on his haunches to take a thigh-high catch off a slog-sweep to dismiss Richie Berrington and got low down on the boundary to take the catch that ended George Munsey’s painstaking innings. And Luke Jongwe plucked a chance out of the sky in the final over to send back Calum MacLeod.

Scotland did not hit a single six in their innings, and there were none in the first 31.5 overs of the match before Raza, the man who seems to be able to do almost anything at the moment, sent MacLeod over the midwicket boundary and barely broke a sweat. Two overs later, he did it again when he sent Michael Leask over the covers. Before Raza’s first six, Zimbabwe required 63 runs off 49 deliveries; after his second one 43 runs off 41 balls, which is how much his innings allowed pressure to evaporate from Zimbabwe’s effort. —  ESPNCricinfo

Article Source: The Chronicle

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