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South Africa Women Trounce Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe's women were on the receiving end of a not-unexpected trouncing by South Africa in the second of their Women's World Cup qualifying matches in Nairobi yesterday. Zimbabwe were skittled out for just 59 - Ashley Ndiraya (20) and Sharne Mayers (17) accounting for most of that, with 6 ducks along the way - a total that South Africa had no issues at all chasing down, reaching the victory target in the 11th over of their reply. That puts South Africa top of the qualifying group win 4 points, with the other sides all on 2 points beneath them - although Zimbabwe are top of that pile on run-rate. Zimbabwe's next match is against Kenya, on Friday (17th). Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 59 (27.2 overs; Ndiraya 20, Ismail 4/13), South Africa 60/2 (10.2 overs; Fritz 26, Ndiraya 1/13). South Africa Women win by 8 wickets.

Bangladesh Take Series with Another Convincing Win

Zimbabwe's stuttering top order put paid to any chance of a drawn series in the final ODI against Bangladesh yesterday. Batting first, Zimbabwe struggled from the start - Brendan Taylor (0) departed after facing just two balls, and while Keith Dabengwa (9) and Hamilton Masakadza (6) hung around a bit longer, their abysmally low scoring rate (both with strike rates in the 30s) left Zimbabwe well behind the run rate needed to set a competitive target. Craig Ervine (46) and Tatenda Taibu (64) did a good job of rebuilding in the middle overs, while late cameos by Prosper Utseya and Regis Chakabva gave a brief flurry of runs towards the end of the innings, but Zimbabwe completed their 50 overs with just 188 on the board - well short of a par total.Safiul Islam conceded just 10 runs in his 7 overs, while Shakib Al Hasan took 3/58.

Bangladesh had no such problems in reply, with Tamim Iqbal in particular in imperious form - he hit 95 off 96 balls before being caught impressively by Cremer while trying to bring up his century with a six. After his departure, Junaid Siddique, who had played a patient second-fiddle to Iqbal, took over, scoring an unbeaten 56 as Bangladesh chased down their target with 7 overs to spare. Price was the best of Zimbabwe's bowlers, with 1/25 from his 10 overs.

The win gave Bangladesh a 3-1 series win, which given their current form (they're arguably better than both New Zealand and the West Indies at the moment, their ranking just hasn't caught up to their form) isn't a bad result, but the way in which Zimbabwe played in the matches points out that there's still a lot of work to be done if next year's planned Test return against Bangladesh is to be a competitive one. Full scorecard below the cut.
Bangladesh win by 6 wickets.

4th ODI in Chittagong Abandoned

The 4th ODI between Zimbabwe and Bangladesh in Chittagong was abandoned without a ball bowled this morning, as a wet outfield after heavy rain left the ground unplayable. That leaves Zimbabwe unable to overtake Bangladesh's 2-1 lead in the series, with just one match now due to be played - also at Chittagong, on Sunday (12th December).

Zimbabwe Tumble to 65-run Defeat in 3rd ODI

And it had started so well, too. With several changes, some enforced by injury and others not (Chigumbura, Meth and Dabengwa out, Cremer and the Masakadza brothers in), Zimbabwe entered the 3rd ODI with a side that was far more to fans' liking than that played in the first two matches, while the quick removal of Tamim Iqbal and Junaid Siddique to leave Bangladesh in trouble on 5/2 after being put in to bat by stand-in captain Prosper Utseya gave Zimbabwe the dream start as they sought to regain the lead in the series. But that was about it for Zimbabwean highlights, as Bangladesh clawed their way back into the game with the bat, led by a middle-order recovery by Shakib Al Hasan (73) and Mushfiqur Rahim (63) that saw them reach 246/7 from their 50 overs - a target that, even before Zim had begun to bat, seemed too high for comfort.

That impression was quickly reinforced as Zimbabwe's top and middle order did its famous collapsing routine - of the top six, only Brendan Taylor reached double figures (although his 15 was hardly impressive either), while by the time Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer joined forces at the bottom of the innings to mount something of a fightback the require run-rate was already beyond any ability to chase. Utseya eventually top-scored with a very impressive 67 - just one short of his career-best ODI score and, along with his 4/38 with the ball making him Zim's best player in the match by quite some margin - but his removal with 11 balls remaining signalled the end of the match, at which point Zimbabwe were still a long way short of their target. It was a very poor performance from the men in red, who simply seemed to have had the wind taken out of their sails by Bangladesh's first-innings recovery and didn't know what to do to reverse their fortunes.

Full scorecard below the cut. This win gives Bangladesh a 2-1 lead in the series with 2 matches still to play, and incidentally, sees Zimbabwe drop below Ireland again in the ICC ODI rankings.
Bangladesh 246/7 (50 overs; Shakib Al Hasan 73, Utseya 4/38), Zimbabwe 181 (48.1 overs; Utseya 67, Abdur Razzak 4/14). Bangladesh win by 65 runs.

Razzak Hat-Trick Seals Zimbabwe's Fate

Zimbabwe got a taste of their own spin medicine in the 2nd ODI in Mirpur on Friday, as Bangladesh use the Death by Spin tactic that Zimbabwe have been using of late to restrict Zim to 191 - with a hat-trick by Abdur Razzak (5/30) adding to Zim's misery. In the middle-order, Keith Dabengwa (30) and Tatenda Taibu (21) were ground down by the spin attack, both only managing strike-rates of 43 runs per hundred balls, and it fell to the lower-order pairing of Prosper Utseya (32 from 37 balls) and Craig Ervine (42* from 41 balls) to up the scoring rate, which they did with aplomb. Utseya's departure on the last ball of the 45 order, though, was the first wicket of Abdur Razzak's hat-trick, which brought an early close to Zimbabwe's innings.

In reply, Bangladesh also seemed to have got the measure of Zimbabwe's spin duo of Utseya (8-0-50-0) and Ray Price (9-1-41-2), who both ended up being unusually expensive options, which Keith Dabengwa unexpectedly topped the economy rate stakes for the match, conceding just 17 runs from his 7 overs. With wickets hard to come by, though, Bangladesh never looked in trouble, and led by Junaid Siddique (53) and Raqibul Hasan (65) they reached the target with 62 balls remaining. That ties the series 1-1 with 3 to play, and puts the momentum back in Bangladesh's hands - and Zimbabwe having to look again at their gameplan. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 191 (46.2 overs; Ervine 42*, Abdur Rassak 5/30), Bangladesh 194/4 (39.4 overs; Raqibul Hasan 65, Price 2/41). Bangladesh win by 6 wickets.

Mpofu Stars in Zim Win

Pace man Christopher Mpofu shone for Zimbabwe with three wickets for 25 which gave Zimbabwe a nine run win against Bangladesh in the opening Micromax ODI cup at the Sher-e-Bangla National Stadium in Mirpur. Mpofu, with the help of Zimbabwe’s spinners and some excellent fielding by the team, helped in dismissing Bangladesh for 200 runs in 49 overs defending a low score of 209 nine in the same number of overs.

Bangladesh won the toss and sent Zimbabwe to bat, in the hopes of utilising the minute bits of movement that the flat track had to offer, it was a spinners wicket and spinners from both teams dominated the bowling. Zimbabwe’s innings was dented by left-arm slow bowler Abdur Razzak after the openers had taken right arm-fast bowler, Mashrafee Bin Mortaza at a run-a-ball for six overs. Brendan Taylor opened the innings with a boundary from the first ball and utilised the slow and low pitching conditions before he was stumped for 27 runs off the bowling of Razzak.

It was Regis Chakabva’s patient innings of a career best 45 from 85 balls that kept Zimbabwe’s innings afloat. He was the top scorer for the visitors partnering with Craig Ervine for their 65 run partnership. The pair settled for singles and the odd boundary but never stopped rotating the strike which was a rewarding strategy against a string of disciplined spinners that came from both ends. Like the most of Zimbabwe’s wickets to fall, under no daunting threat, Chakabva attempted to lob a shot over the bowler but only got half past his stroke playing straight back to the bowler. Ervine soon followed trying to play over the top for 41 from 59 balls.

In reply Bangladesh got off to a stable start, losing their first wicket in the eleventh over, Mpofu trapping Tamim Iqbal (23) leg below wicket. Imrul Kayes (41) holed swung out to the Chakabva in the deep midwickets off the bowling of Raymond Price. The spinners brought the game closer to Zimbabwe, slowing down the run rate and collecting crucial wickets that increased the probability of victory. Pressure to score led to a few hasty decisions and nippy fielding rewarded Zimbabwe with four run-outs.

As the pressure mounted Bangladesh did not find the boundary between the 20th and 30th over as Mohammed Ashraful and Mushfiqur Rahim were dismissed by Price and Utseya inside two overs. Ashraful was clean bowled by Utseya in 24th over before Rahim followed him to the dressing room two overs later after departing in similar fashion. As the match reached the climax the more Bangladesh found it difficult to find the boundary as the Zimbabwe tightened the screws in the field, while the bowlers maintained a tight line. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 209 (49 overs; Chakabva 45, Abdur Razzak 4/41), Bangladesh 200 (49 overs; Shakib Al Hasan 63, Mpofy 3/25). Zimbabwe win by 9 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Zimbabwe Lose to BCB XI in Series Warm-Up

A premature tumble of Zimbabwe’s batting line-up handed the Bangladesh Cricket Board XI (BCB XI) a 29 run win in a warm-up match at the Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan Ground in Savar.

The visiting Zimbabwe team were bowled out for 194 in 46.1 overs, chasing an attainable 224 for victory after they had dismissed the hosts for 223 runs for nine in their allotted 50 overs.
BCB XI, backed by a lively crowd of close to 2000 fans did a sterling job with the bat after winning the toss and electing to bat.

The forming of two half century partnerships for the sixth and eight wickets was the trait that worked in their advantage in building a competitive target, considering the more experienced Zimbabwean bowlers. Their middle order’s performance was the source of recovery after Zimbabwe’s seamers removed three early wickets for 39 runs by the ninth over.

17 year old Asif Ahmed (46) and wicket-keeper Saghir Hossain (49) top scored for the home side coming in at number five and seven, consecutively. Also notable was opener Fazle Mahmud’s 30 which came of 43 balls as a result of the restrictive lengths and lines from Chris Mpofu and Keegan Meth. Meth’s crafty variations forced untimely lofty drives to the fielder rewarding with four wickets for 46 runs in eight overs. Mpofu, the faster of the two bowlers took three for 37 in eight overs.

Zimbabwe’s response was not impressive as expressed by head coach, Alan butcher, who was not happy with the team batting below their potential. “The middle order panicked and got themselves out. We need the middle order to take responsibility and get to the target. We were never under any pressure with the run rate. We were ahead of the run rate earlier on, but we found ways of getting ourselves out and did not bat well enough,” Butcher said.

After Hamilton Masakadza (duck) and Brendan Taylor (17) were bowled out, it was up to the middle order to take charge of the chase. Tatenda Taibu made an effort to rotate the strike before being caught behind for 32 off 48 balls.

Keegan Meth (25) and Prosper Utseya (26) formed a 53 run partnership that Zimbabwe needed ever so desperately. However Asif Ahmed’s slow bowling trapped the pair lbw, leaving Graeme Cremer (21 not out) and Raymond Price (6) the stern task of scoring 57 runs at a run-a-ball to level the score.

A communication blunder resulted in a Price’s run out which thereby ended Zimbabwe’s pursuit. Zimbabwe will face the Bangladesh national team in Dhaka on December the 1st in the first of five ODIs. Full scorecard below the cut.
BCB XI 223/9 (50 overs; Saghir Hossain 49, Meth 4/46), Zimbabweans 194 (46.1 overs; Taibu 32, Noor Hossain 3/40). BCB XI win by 29 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Itinerary for Zimbabwe Tour to Bangladesh

Zimbabwe head to Bangladesh at the end of the month for a 5-ODI series. Here's the fixture list:

29 November 2010	BCB XI v Zimbabwe	Bangladesh Krira Shikkha Protisthan Ground, Savar
1 December 2010		1st ODI			Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
3 December 2010		2nd ODI			Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
6 December 2010		3rd ODI			Shere Bangla National Stadium, Mirpur
10 December 2010	4th ODI			Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong
12 December 2010	5th ODI			Zohur Ahmed Chowdhury Stadium, Chittagong

New Zealand 'A' Win 3rd Unofficial Test

New Zealand A ran to victory in the third unofficial Test match at Country Club by nine wickets, a win that from the Zimbabwean point of view was disappointingly easy.

They made light of their target, thanks to a fine opening partnership and an uninspired bowling and fielding performance from the home team. They thus took the three-match series by two victories to none, with one match drawn.

The day began with New Zealand A starting the final innings of the match, needing 168 for victory. The odds were in their favour, but the hope was that the Zimbabweans would put up a good fight – and a surprise victory was not impossible. Unfortunately, it was clear almost from the start that the Zimbabwean seamers, who had bowled so superbly only twenty-four hours earlier, were quite unable to test the batsmen in the same way this time round. The batsmen forsook their team’s usual policy of defending grimly against the new ball for half an hour, especially at the start of play, and were on the lookout for runs right from the start. It helped that Tinashe Panyangara and Mike Chinouya were unable to find line and length, and produced a great many balls the batsmen were able to attack without difficulty. Peter Ingram in particular indulged in some lofted drives and even the normally circumspect Tim McIntyre pulled a ball from Panyangara for six. Trevor Garwe was the only bowler able to keep the batsmen in check, but he couldn’t do the job single-handed; after ten overs the score was 43 and 51 was on the board in an hour. A few instances of indifferent fielding did not help Zimbabwe A’s cause.

Both batsmen reached their fifties, Ingram off 64 balls and McIntosh off 78. The 100 came up in the 23rd over, and at lunch the score was 115 without loss. The match was virtually in the bag, and there was a chance of one of the batsmen reaching a century. Soon after lunch, though, Ingram fatally hooked a short ball from Chinouya and hit it straight to the fielder in the deep, departing for 63; the opening stand had put on 122.

The new batsman Martin Guptill was not in the mood for hanging around. He quickly got stuck into Chinouya with a series of lofted drives, and then swung a ball from Timycen Maruma over midwicket for six, to finish with 25 not out off only 19 balls. McIntosh was unbeaten with 76 off 109 balls, and the tourists’ victory was convincing and well deserved. The Zimbabwean team showed promise and good cricket at times, but the greater experience and also determination of the tourists was decisive. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 186 (55.1 overs; Waller 39, Martin 4/41) & 189 (43.5 overs; Mawoyo 62, Arnel 3/47), New Zealand 208 (68.3 overs; Hopkins 69, Chinouya 3/44) & 168/1 (35.4 overs; McIntosh 76*, Chinouya 1/36). New Zealand 'A' win by 9 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]

Zimbabwe Conclude Series With Disappointing Defeat

South Africa completed a series whitewash with a 272 run victory against Zimbabwe in the third and final MTN ODI series at Willowmoore Park in Benoni. Zimbabwe’s last match was a disappointment and contradicts the spirited performances in the two Twenty20s and ODIs which were lost with pride intact.

The visitors celebrated the early dismissals of the two players that had brought them to their knees in this series when Hashim Amla (24) and captain Graeme Smith (26) fell prematurely. That was until 219 runs was scored for the third wicket by centurions Jean-Paul Duminy and AB de Villiers which powered South Africa to 399 for six after winning the toss and electing to bat.

Duminy and de Villiers’ brutal onslaught against the Zimbabwean bowlers earned them a place in cricket history as the highest third wicket partnership for South Africa. Duminy cracked four sixes and seven fours for his man of the match winning knock of 129 runs which came off just 117 balls. De Villiers was not totally undone adding 109 runs to the board which featured five sixes and five fours. His consistency and fine form also earned him the man of the series award.

Opening bowlers Ian Nicolson and Shingirai Masakadza were the first victims of the almost invincible pair. Nicolson was the most expensive bowler going for 74 runs in seven overs with the wicket of Duminy as consolation. Masakadza earned a short lived applause for getting Amla caught behind but still went for 95 for two wickets in 10 overs. Zimbabwe was taking heavy blows and desperation made captain Elton Chigumbura resort to using all nine available bowlers to no avail.

Albie Morkel (37), David Miller (33 not out) and Colin Ingram (20) had their work cut out for them after such a fine start and were now in pursuit of setting a 400 runs total. The trio did their fair share of damage, Morkel and Miller scoring mostly from boundaries.

Zimbabwe’s top order crumbled at an equally unimpressive rate, sadly a 47 run fourth wicket partnership between Tatenda Taibu (28) and Craig Ervine (24) was the only notable reply but still not good enough for the required total. Also commendable was Prosper Utseya’s unbeaten innings of 24 runs from 40 balls. Zimbabwe was all out for 127 runs in 29 overs. Full scorecard below the cut.
South Africa 399/6 (50 overs; Duminy 129, S Masakadza 2/95), Zimbabwe 127 (29 overs; Taibu 28, Theron 3/18). South Africa win by 272 runs.
[Source: ZC]

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