Twenty20 Matches

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Zim Exit World T20 After Folding to New Zealand

It should have been a grudge match, with New Zealand's refusal to honour their Future Tours Programme commitment to tour Zim a constant annoyance to Zim fans, but after impressing in their warmup matches, Zimbabwe capitulated in the most abject fashion to hand New Zealand a place in the Super Eight and earn their own early trip home. Batting first, Zimbabwe were bowled out for a pitiful 84 inside 16 overs - Tatenda Taibu (21) and Hamilton Masakadza (20) got the side off to a cracking start, but once they were out of the way Zimbabwe's innings became a progression of tame wickets that gave the side no honour at all. Scott Styris (3/5 from 2 overs) and Nathan McCullum (3/16 from 4 overs) did most of the damage.

Zim's bowlers also had no answer for New Zealand's batting - Utseya scored one success, taking the wicket of Jesse Ryder early in the innings, but from there the Blackcaps marched on until the rain came down. Play stopped with 8.1 overs bowled, enough to count as a match and with New Zealand ahead of the D/L sums. And that was the end of that.

Full scorecard below the cut. Zimbabwe's next international action is the tri-series against Sri Lanka and India, which gets underway with Zimbabwe v India at Bulawayo on May 2th.
Zimbabwe 84 (15.1/20 overs; Taibu 21, Styris 3/5), New Zealand 36/1 (8.1/8.1 overs; McCullum 22*, Utseya 1/21). New Zealand win by 7 runs (D/L Method).

Zimbabwe Lose to Sri Lanka as Rains Disrupt Play

Bad weather denied Zimbabwe the chance of a tough run-chase to get their ICC World Twenty20 campaign off on a positive note, as they lost to Sri Lanka by 14 runs on the Duckworth/Lewis method at the Providence Stadium in Guyana on Monday.

Sri Lanka had won the toss and batted first, scoring 173 for seven in 20 overs as Mahela Jayawardena took advantage of a couple of moments of poor fielding to score a scintillating 100 off 64 balls. Jayawardena opened the batting and drove Sri Lanka to 73 for one after eight overs. But with the run-rate threatening to get out of control, the spinners put the brakes on and ensured one of the tournament favourites did not get away from them in the second half of the innings.

Thissara Perera planted two sixes in the cow corner area but was then dismissed for 23, Elton Chigumbura taking a fine catch running around the boundary off Greg Lamb.

Thereafter, the spinners nipped all Jayawardena's partners in the bud.

Leg-spinner Graeme Cremer obtained some turn and bounce to dismiss Kumar Sangakkara for three and Ray Price deceived both Chamara Kapugedera (13) and Jayawardena with the last two balls of his bowling stint.

Price covered himself in glory with figures of two for 31 in four overs, while Prosper Utseya snared one for 32, Lamb two for 34 and Cremer one for 23 in three. A furious rain storm interrupted Zimbabwe's chase after just one over, with the score four without loss.

After the tropical weather had had its say, Zimbabwe returned with a Duckworth/Lewis revised target of 105 in 11 overs.

Tatenda Taibu and Hamilton Masakadza went about building the platform for a late five-over flurry, wickets in hand being one of the keys to success in this format.

Taibu's strength lies in his speed between the wickets and improvisation, but this was a weakness on this occasion as the wicketkeeper squeezed a ball from Lasith Malinga to third man and came back for a second run that had Hamilton Masakadza in two minds, and eventually he was run out for four.

Both Taibu (12*) and Brendan Taylor (11*) looked in good touch, however, as they took Zimbabwe to 29 for one after five overs. Sri Lanka had just fitted in the minimum number of overs for a result when the Providence Stadium was inundated by another rain shower, with Zimbabwe short of the 44 runs they needed to score in five overs.

Full scorecard below the cut. Zimbabwe will now need to win against New Zealand in their final pool game in Guyana on Tuesday, and hope that they can close the net run rate gap by enough to edge past New Zealand.
Sri Lanka 173/7 (20/20 overs; Jayawardene 100, Price 2/31), Zimbabwe 29/1 (5/5 overs; Taibu 12*, Mendis 0/9). Sri Lanka win by 14 runs (D/L Method).
[Match report provided by ZC]

Zimbabwe Claim Another Scalp in 2nd Warm-Up Match

Zimbabwe followed their tense, one-run victory against Australia on Tuesday with a comfortable 12-run win over defending champions Pakistan in their second warm-up match of the ICC World Twenty20 at the Beausejour stadium on Thursday. The underdogs posted a marginal 143/7 in their 20 overs after being put into bat but yet another disciplined bowling and fielding performance restricted Pakistan to a meagre 131 in reply.

The attention of the cricket playing world, never mind the Caribbean, is now rapidly turning towards the revitalised minnows in red. Having been many peoples' favourites to be outplayed by Ireland and Afghanistan amongst the smaller teams, Zimbabwe are now being talked about as potential giant-killers when the tournament proper gets under way.

Just as they did against Australia, Zimbabwe lost early wickets and looked to heading towards mediocrity despite Hamilton Masakadza's 33 from 30 balls at the top of the order and a measured 20 from Brendan Taylor. And just as he did against Australia, it was Elton Chigumbura who saved the day with another thrilling display of ball striking which earned him an unbeaten 49 from just 35 balls with a trio of both sixes and fours.

Whereas Craig Ervine assisted Chigumbura in a stand of 114 against Australia, his ally this time around was Charles Coventry who belted an uncompromising 30 from 19 balls with a couple of sixes over mid wicket and long on.

But it still required an inspired bowling performance to defend a score which was probably 20 runs short of 'par' and it duly came - from everyone. Skipper Prosper Utseya enjoyed the stand out analysis of 4/15 from his four overs but Chris Mpofu, given a rare chance with the new ball, was no less impressive with his 2/19 from three overs. Chigumbura completed another brilliant match with a couple of cheap wickets at the death to finish with 3/16 in three overs.

"It was probably an even better performance than the one against Australia because of the clinical way everyone went about their business. To a stranger watching the match, it was impossible to tell which was the defending champion and which was the underdog," said coach Alan Butcher. "We went head to head and won quite comfortably in the end. It's very, very encouraging."

Full scorecard below the cut. The team travel to Guyana on Friday where they play their two group matches against Sri Lanka and New Zealand on Monday and Tuesday.
Zimbabwe 143/7 (20 overs; Chigumbura 49*, Shahid Afridi 4/24), Pakistan 131 (20 overs; Kamran Akmal 37, Utseya 4/15). Zimbabwe win by 12 runs.
[Match report supplied by ZC]

Zimbabwe Surprise Australia in T20 Warm-up Match

Elton Chigumbura's brilliant 76 from just 33 balls helped Zimbabwe beat Australia by one run in a thrilling warm-up match at the ICC Twenty20 World Cup at the Beausejour cricket ground on Tuesday. Having piled up an impressive 173-7 in their 20 overs, Zimbabwe were subjected to the whirlwind excellence of David Warner who almost matched Chigumbura's fireworks with 72 from 51 balls before hauling themselves back into the match and clinching a famous win - the second time they have beaten Australia in a T20 match although this one does not count as 'official'.

Australia galloped to 95-1 in just 13 overs with Warner in his pomp and the game seemed theirs for the taking until senior spinners Ray Price and Prosper Utseya bowled superb back-to-back overs at a combined cost of just 13 runs to push the required rate to 12 per over and heap the pressure back on Australia.

It was left to Chigumbura and Chris Mpofu to defend 33 from the final two overs and the chances of that happening diminished hugely when a chaotic 19th over, bowled by Chigumbura, produced two run outs - both off wides - at a cost of 20 runs. Mpofu's first delivery was carved to the boundary by Brad Haddin leaving the lanky Tuskers seamer to defend just nine runs from the final five deliveries. Remarkably, however, it was the favourites rather than the underdogs who appeared shaky in the final moments and captain Michael Clarke played a bizarre 'flick' at the fifth delivery when just four were required to win and was bowled. Mpofu's next delivery was harshly called wide outside the off stump but his next turn produced a perfect off stump yorker which Haddin could only squeeze to cover for a single leaving a jubilant, fist-pumping Mpofu to be mobbed by his team mates.

"It may not mean too much in the context of the tournament when it gets under way for real, but it means everything to us and to Zimbabwe cricket," said a delighted head coach, Alan Butcher. "Everyone played their part , and I really mean that, although Elton played the biggest part and deserves all the headlines and praise that he gets."

The Mash Eagles skipper smashed five fours and six sixes in his remarkable innings which featured a stand of 114 with Craig Ervine immediately after the innings had slipped to 36-4. Australian all rounder Shane Watson bore the brunt of Chigumbura's attack and was hammered for 20 in his second over after conceding 14 in his first. He didn't bowl again.

"It means a lot us in terms of confidence," Chigumbura said. "Maybe it was only a practise match for Australia but we know they were trying their hardest and we could see that they did not enjoy losing. We need to believe that we are good enough to beat any team and this was a good reminder because results haven't been too good on tour so far."

Ervine's 39 from 30 balls has almost certainly cemented his place in the starting XI for the group matches against Sri Lanka and New Zealand on May 3rd and 4th while stalwart batsmen Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda need to score significantly in the second warm-up match against Pakistan at the same ground on Thursday to secure their places.

Full scorecard below the cut. Zim's next match is their final warm-up game, against current champions Pakistan, on Thursday.
Zimbabwe 173/7 (20 overs; Chigumbura 76, Johnson 4/23), Australia 172/7 (20 overs; Warner 72, Utseya 2/27). Zimbabwe win by 1 run.
[Match report provided by ZC]

World T20 Warm-Up Fixtures Confirmed

Zimbabwe will get two warm-up matches ahead of the World Twenty20, in addition to their matches against West Indies 'A'. Both will be played at Beausejour Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia - against Australia on 27 April, and Pakistan on 29 April.

Zimbabwe Stun West Indies in Low-Scoring Scrap

Well, well, well. Zimbabwe set out for the West Indies with their "mission statement", agreed between the squad members, being that they were aiming to win the ODI series. Until a little earlier this evening, I don't think anyone would have taken them too seriously. Even at the half-way point of the match, when Sky Sports were describing Zimbabwe's batting performance as "incompetent", things were looking grim for the boys in red (now once again sporting the Zimbabwe Bird on their uniforms). This was a match with a record number of ducks in a Twenty20 International (8), and with both the Windies and Zimbabwe posting their lowest scores in this format. And yet, it turned out to be gripping.

Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bat, hoping to get the best out of the pitch. It was a decision which made sense, but which captain Prosper Utseya was soon rueing as Zimbabwe's top order collapsed in dramatic style to leave the side apparently dead and buried on 0/3 after three overs, with Sulieman Benn (4/6) doing the early damage. On a wicket on which Utseya later said he was targeting a total of around 140, and on which the TV commentary considered 120 to be par, Zimbabwe looked in real danger of not even reaching 50. Hamilton Masakadza became the rock around which an innings was finally built, though, adding 44 off 67 balls before finally holing out with the score on 74/6. That in turn brought Elton Chigumbura to the crease for a cameo performance than, in hindsight, would prove to be the turning point for the match: living up to his nickname, "Boom Boom" posted 34 from 27 balls, taking Zimbabwe past the 100 mark and finally taking some of the wind out of the West Indies' sails. The side were bowled out for 105 with one ball remaining - some way short of the ideal total, but still within the range that the side could defend.

And defend it they did. Led by the spin attack of a truly fired-up Ray Price (1/18), Prosper Utseya (1/12) and on-form Graeme Cremer (3/11), Zimbabwe were able to keep the brakes firmly on the West Indies batsmen, building pressure on them and eventually forcing the errors that would hand Zimbabwe the match. While Shivnarine Chanderpaul (20) tried to hold things together, the more impetuous players around him were leading a calypso collapse to match Zimbabwe's own, and with only three 4s and one 6 in the innings, the home side were never close to matching the required scoring rate - in the end, it wasn't even close, as the West Indies completed their 20 overs on a meagre 79, 26 short of their target.

Of course, that doesn't mean that everything in the garden is rosy. This was a much-needed win, signalling to the rest of the cricketing world that hey, WE'RE BACK, but the traditional Zimbabwe Collapse™ was still very much in evidence and something that would well lose us matches in the rest of the series. But let the message be clear: don't ignore us, and don't underestimate us. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 105 (19.5 overs; H Masakadza 44, Sammy 5/26), West Indies 79/7 (20 overs; Ramdin 23*, Cremer 3/11). Zimbabwe win by 26 runs.

Pakistan U19 Sweep T20 Series With 2nd Win

Pakistan U19 took the Twenty20 series against Zimbabwe U19 2-0, after a 6-wicket win at St George's College on Friday. Batting first, Zimbabwe's batsmen finally found some form and posted a respectable target of 158 in 19 overs, led by Andrew Lindsay (39) and Mazvita Zambuko (36). Raza Hasan took 3/19 for Pakistan.

That proved to not quite be enough, though, as Zim's bowling uncharacteristically failed to make much impact on the visitors, who eased to the target with 8 balls and 6 wickets to spare. Opener Faraz Ali carried his bat for the innings, scoring 74 not-out, while Hammad Azam chipped in with a useful 35. Natsai Mushangwe took 2/28 to lead Zim's bowling figures with Zambuko responsible for the other two wickets taken, but that wasn't enough to stop another convincing win for Pakistan. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 158 (19 overs; Lindsay 39, Raza Hasan 3/19), Pakistan 160/4 (18.4 overs; Faraz Ali 74*, Mushangwe 2/28). Pakistan U19 win by 6 wickets.

Pakistan Edge Zim in Close-Fought T20 Matchup

After being hammered in their first meeting of the tour, Zimbabwe U19 would have gone into their second match - the frist of two Twenty20 Internationals - looking to learn from their mistakes and salvage some pride, and they certainly managed that as Pakistan were only able to edge a victory.

Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to bat, and despite some shakiness were able to post a decent total of 148/8 from their 20 overs. Captain Dylon Higgins led from the front, putting on a rapid-fire 55 not-out, with Mazvita Zambuko (34) the best of the rest. Kaleem Sana took 3/28 for Pakistan. In reply, Pakistan were cruising at 68/2 before Tinotenda Mutombodzi put their brakes on with a stunning hat-trick in the 11th over, removing Babar Azam (27), Nasir Malik and Muzammil Nizam off consecutive deliveries in the same over. That swung the momentum back in Zimbabwe's favour, but Remeez Aziz (72*) proved impossoble to remove and led Pakistan home with 5 balls to spare.

Close, then, but just not quite there - although the performance will raise hopes of Zim scoring a win in at least one of the remaining matches. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 146/8 (20 overs; Higgins 55*, Kaleem Sana 3/28), Pakistan 151/7 (19.1 overs; Rameez Aziz 72*, Mutombodzi 3/20). Pakistan U19 win by 3 wickets.

Former Players Return for Takashinga Winter Twenty20 League

Takashinga will play host to a new Twenty20 competition, the Premier Winter League, with the first matches in the competition to be played on Sunday (12th July). The competition will feature four select sides - Chaminuka, captained by Hamilton Mazakadza; Tongogara, led by national team skipper Prosper Utseya; Tangwena, headed by Elton Chigumbura; and - perhaps most interestingly - the Red Lions, captained by Trevor Gripper and featuring former Zim players including Doug Marillier, Barney Rogers and Lance Malloch-Brown.

Sunday's opening fixtures will see Tongogara play Tangwena, followed by Red Lions vs Chaminuka. We'll carry what details of the tourney that we can dig up.

Zimbabwe Thrash Canada in 3rd-Place Playoff

Zimbabwe restored some lost pride by teaching Canada their place in life in their 3rd-Place playoff in King City on Monday. Having received some well-deserved stick following their tie in the group stage, Zimbabwe finally found their form and performed as they should have done in that first match - after being put into bat by Canada, the side suffered the early loss of Cephas Zhuwawo, but opener Hamilton Mazakadza (79) and Chamu Chibhabha (40) then went on to put on 89 runs for the second wicket, with Masakdaza in particularly imperious form. Tatenda Taibu played the role of middle-order anchor, not scoring much himself but helping to rotate the strike and give the more agressive men around him their chance to make the most of the weak Canadian bowling, with Elton Chigumbura's cameo appearance (25 runs off 8 balls) being particularly enjoyable. Even Keith Dabengwa got in on the action, with 16 from 6 deliveries, and Zimbabwe finished their innings with an impressive 184/5, by far the highest score of the tournament. Rao was the best of the Canadian bowlers, with figures of 2/33.

Canada were always going to have a hard time chasing, and between early wickets and some very stingy bowling - Ray Price and Chris Mpofu both matched Utseya's record for most economic spell in Twenty20, set only the day before, and added three wickets into the bargain for figures of 2/6 and 1/6 respectively for their 4-overs spells. Utseya himself chipped in with 3/26 from his 4 overs. Against that sort of determined attack, Canada had no chance, and with only 2 players reaching double figures (Samad 29, Bhatti 11), they were never in with a shout. They were finally bowled out at the end of the 19th over for a paltry 75, only barely "beating" the lowest score in T20 Internationals, currently held by Kenya.

The win will give Zimbabwe some confidence ahead of the Kenya leg of their tour, which gets underway with a tour match against Uganda on Wednesday - a side who, while well down the rankings, have tripped up both Kenya and Bermuda this year and shouldn't be underestimated. Full scorecard for this match is below the cut.
Zimbabwe 184/5 (20 overs; Masakadza 79, Balaji Rao 2/33), Canada 75 (19.2/20 overs; Samad 29, Utseya 3/26, Price 2/6). Zimbabwe win by 109 runs.

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