Brandon Moyo, Sports Reporter
A GOOD sporting match has fans talking before and after the match with banter from both camps being thrown all over.
Fierce rivalries across all sporting codes have, before and after the match, had people talking, shade thrown all over. But one wouldn’t have imagined the Zimbabwe cricket national team’s fans starting a rivalry with fans of a giant cricket-playing nation.
When one talks of cricket rival matches that have serious banter before, during and after the match, India and Pakistan top the list and for some The Ashes comes close. The Zimbabwe-Pakistan rivalry has joined the list thanks to Pak-Bean.
There was a time when Pakistan gave Zimbabwe what they did not order, instead of the great Rowen “Mr Bean” Atkinson, Pakistanis sent their very own look-alike version of the English comedian and Zimbabweans have not forgiven Pakistan for that.
Building up to their match against Pakistan, a Twitter user by the name of Ngugi Chasura reminded Pakistan that Zimbabwe had a score to settle for what they did in 2016.
“As Zimbabweans, we won’t forgive you, you once gave us that Fraud Pak Bean instead of Mr Bean Rowan. We will settle the matter tomorrow, just pray the rains will save you,” Chasura posted on his Twitter.
The post was not just “another social media post” as it became a build-up to the match with the whole world anticipating the Mr Bean rivalry. It became an exchange of banter, for Pakistan, the second in four days after the India one.
It became an instant rivalry, a derby so to speak, that had the whole world talking. The Chevrons had one job, to revenge for the millions back home who were given a fake Mr Bean.
The Mr Bean banter became a proper build-up to the encounter, with cricket analysts and fans from all over talking about it. It became, after the India-Pakistan build-up, the most talked about and funniest build-up.
Revenge is sweet.
The Chevrons as mentioned, had one job, which at some point, they looked to have dismally failed at. Posting just 130 runs for a Pakistani side with Babar Azam and Muhammad Rizwan to chase looked like a joke.
However, the match turned out to be one for the ages, Zimbabwe produced one of their finest white ball performances ever to produce what has become known as “The Curse of Mr Bean” that had Pakistanis crying.
It took the Chevrons the last ball of the match to finally hand Zimbabweans sweet revenge over Pakistan.
“What I learnt today. Whatever you do, whatever, anything, if you promise Mr Bean to Zimbabwe, send Rowan Atkinson, not a lookalike,” said the head of content at Wisden India, Abhishek Mukherjee.
A cheerful banter between the leaders of the two nations was sparked.
President Mnangagwa, congratulating the team on a job well done, threw in a joke about Pakistan sending a fake Mr Bean to Zimbabwe.
“What a win for Zimbabwe! Congratulations to the Chevrons. Next time send the real Mr Bean,” tweeted President Mnangagwa.
His Pakistani counterpart, Shehbaz Sharif responded, congratulating the President and the team for a job well done and also mentioning Mr Bean.
“We may not have the real Mr Bean, but we have real cricketing spirit and we Pakistanis have a funny habit of bouncing back.
Mr President, congratulations, your team played really well today,” tweeted Prime Minister Sharif.
An interesting victory is as good as the piece of commentary accompanying it.
While everyone was focused on the shocker, Zimbabwe’s very own Mpumelelo “Pommie” Mbangwa turned Shakespeare in the commentary box with an amazing and brilliant call in the last ball of the match.
When one talks of great cricket commentary pieces probably Ian Bishop’s “Remember the name” comes to mind or Ian Smith’s “By the barest of margins” however, in the Zimbabwe and Pakistan’s revenge match, Mbangwa was equal to the task.
Mbangwa delivered a classic call.
“Man oh man, heart-stopping stuff I tell you but what a victory for Zimbabwe, they were gone, probably dead and half-buried at the halfway stage with just 130 on the board but somehow, somehow with those tall bowlers, with the bounce here at Perth, with Raza in the middle with three, they fought and fought and finally managed to get home, what a win! By just one run,” Mbangwa passionately commented with the clip of his commentary posted on Twitter and viewed by more than two million people by yesterday.
The revenge victory took Zimbabwe to three points and a chance of making the semi-finals of the World Cup.
Article Source: The Chronicle