Twenty20 Matches

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Zim Demolished by Pakistan

Zimbabwe's final Al Barakh group-stage match turned into another humiliation, as the side were neatly pulled apart by a superior Pakistan performance. After winning the toss and electing to bat, Zimbabwe got off to a good start with a first-wicket stand 06 62 by Hamilton Masakadza (53) and Cephas Zhuwawo (12), but from there it went quickly downhill as the rest of the side meekly played a few (poor) shots before heading back to the pavilion - no-one outside the opening pair reached double figures, and Zim struggled their way to a woeful 107/8 from their 20 overs. Fawad Alam was the best of the Pakistani bowlers, with a very useful 3/7 from 3 overs.

Zim's bowlers did get an early breakthrough with the wicket of Shahid Afridi with the score on just 6, but Shoaib Khan jnr (50) and Salman Butt (33*) made sure that Pakistan reached their target with very little fuss. To take some plus points from the match, Prosper Utseya's figures of 6/0 from 4 overs were the most economic on record in a T20 International, while Chris Mpofu's 3/16 shows him finding some form, but on balance this was another horrible performance from Zimbabwe, who now go on to play Canada again in the 3rd-place playoff. With Ireland currently demolishing Kenya in their Intercontinental Cup match in Nairobi, you have to worry that Zim are about to be humiliated in the upcoming tri-series. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 107/8 (20 overs; Masakadza 53, Fawad Alam 3/7), Pakistan 110/3 (19/20 overs; Shoaib Khan jnr 50, Mpofu 3/16). Pakistan win by 7 wickets.

Zim Snatch Undeserved Win from Canada After Bowl-Out

Zimbabwe snatched victory from Canada in the 3rd Al Barakh Cup match this evening, after a tie after 20 overs each led to the match being decided through a bowl-out.

Zimbabwe won the toss and elected to field, and took early blood when Canadian opener Mulla fell to Elton Chigumbura on the first ball of the match. Rizwan Cheema then went to town on the Zim bowling, smashing 23 off 11 balls before being dealt with by Chigumbura (2/31 from three overs), with Mohammad Iqbal and Abdool Samad both chipping in to take Canada to 71/4 at the halfway mark, helped by some uninspired bowling decisions by Utseya who again places far too much trust in Keith Dabengwa (0/25 from three overs) and failed to use his in-form bowlers to full effect. Canada ended their innings on 135/7 - higher than they should have been allowed to reach, but within Zimbabwe's grasp.

In reply, Cephas Zhuwawo's international debut stuck all the wrong notes as he was removed on his first ball faced, but Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha and Tatenda Taibu all played their part to help Zimbabwe get off to a respectable start, with Taibu's 37 being the best of the Zimbabwean scores. A typical Zimbabwe Collapse™ in the middle-order took the wind out of their innings, though, and left Canada in the driving seat. Elton Chigumbura's 30 put Zim back within a shot of the target, but the 10 runs required from the final over proved too much for Zim, who ended with their score level with Canada's - and they had a fielding error by a Canadian player to thank for even that.

This being Twenty20, ties aren't permitted, and so the match was decided on a bowl-out - Zimbabwe comfortable won that 3-1, but if truth be told Zimbabwe should never have allowed Canada to gain the upper hand in this match, and should never have allowed themselves to be taken to a bowl-out in the first place - the side is better than this, but poor on-field decisions (also pointed out by Alastair Campbell during his commentary on the match) saw Zimbabwe blow their advantage, just as they did against Sri Lanka. A very poor performance.

Full scorecard below the cut.
Canada 135/7 (20 overs; Jethi 24, Chigumbura 2/31), Zimbabwe 135/9 (20 overs; Taibu 37, Baidwan 3/27). Scores Tied; Zimbabwe win after bowl-out (Canada 1, Zimbabwe 3).

Zimbabwe Hand Sri Lanka Victory in 1st T20

Zimbabwe snatched defeat from the jaws of victory in the opening match of the Al Barakh Cup in Canada, as Sri Lanka were let off the hook courtesy of some poor decisions by captain Prosper Utseya.

Sri Lanka won the toss and elected to field after a wet outfield delayed the start of the match and saw it reduced to 17 overs per side. Opener Stuart Matsikenyeri saw the side off to a disappointing start, dismissed for just 1 run, but decent performances by Hamilton Masakadza, Chamu Chibhabha and Tatenda Taibu steadied the innings, with Taibu putting problems back home behind him to top-score with 45 not out. From there, though, it was all downhill, as Mendis (at 3/15 the best of the Sri Lankan bowlers) dealt with the lower order to restrict Zim to 107 runs from their 17 overs.

In reply, Sri Lanka got off to a flyer as Udawatte and Dilshan put on 36 for the opening wicket, as Utseya's decision to open the bowling with Chris Mpofu quickly backfired, with Mpofo going for 26 runs off his two overs bowled - needless to say he wasn't brought back. Tawanda Mupariwa (18/0) and Ray Price (2/9) reigned the scoring back in during the middle of the innings, with Price's wickets giving Zimbabwe the upper hand again, but once again a suspect decision by Utseya saw them throw away their advantage - with Sri Lanka needing better than a run a ball and with Chigumbura and Mupariwa still with overs in hand, Keith Dabengwa was brought on - a second-string bowler at best, and Sri Lanka quickly punished that decision, on their way to reaching their target with an over to spare.

On the plus side, Sri Lanka were made to work for their victory - but at the end of the day, they didn't win so much as Zimbabwe conspired to lose. They had this match for the taking, and bad captaincy lost it for them. Very disappointing.

Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 106/9 (17/17 overs; Taibu 45*, Mendis 3/15), Sri Lanka 107/5 (16/17 overs; Dilshan 33, Price 2/9). Sri Lanka win by 5 wickets .

Canada Trip in Doubt Over Visa Issues

The Zimbabwe side are due to leave for Canada today, but there's confusion over whether the proper visa paperwork is in place to allow the side to travel. CricInfo reports that the Canadian Embassy in Harare has yet to issue visa, citing Canadian government reluctance to allow sporting ties with Zimbabwe at present; but organisers of the Canada Cup maintain that visas were issued on October 3rd (Friday past) and that the team will be travelling as planned. We'll know for sure soon enough, but if true it's disappointing to see politics raise its head again. It's understood that Bermuda are on standby to replace Zimbabwe should the team be unable to take part.
CricInfo - Confusion over Zimbabwe visas

Four Nations Twenty20 Schedule Released

The schedule has been released for the Canada Cup Four Nations Twenty20 competition, and the sides will face off as follows:

10 October 2008         Sri Lanka v Zimbabwe
10 October 2008         Canada v Pakistan
11 October 2008         Canada v Zimbabwe
11 October 2008         Sri Lanka v Pakistan
12 October 2008         Pakistan v Zimbabwe
12 October 2008         Canada v Sri Lanka
13 October 2008         Final

Scotland v Zimbabwe: T20WC Warm-Up Match

Zimbabwe got their first Twenty20 win under their belts with a 5-wicket victory over Scotland on Sunday. After winning the toss and electing to field, Zimbabwe restricted Scotland to 155/6 from their alotted overs, with captain Ryan Watson top-scoring with 64 not-out. Zimbabwe started well in reply, with Vusi Sibanda putting on 42 and Chamu Chibhabha scoring 43 as Zim successfully chased their target, scoring the winning runs with 7 balls to spare. A better performance for Zimbabwe this time out, then, although it was against weaker opposition - and Scotland's preparations for the tournament (or lack of them) have hardly been ideal, either. Full scorecard below the cut - Zim's first group match is on Wednesday (12th), against the mighty Australia.
Scotland 155/6 (20 overs; Watson 64*, Brent 1/20), Zimbabwe 156/5 (18.5 overs; Chibhabha 43, Haq 2/29). Zimbabwe win by 5 wickets.

Pakistan v Zimbabwe: T20WC Warm-Up Match

Zimbabwe came unstuck in their first T20WC warm-up match against Pakistan on Saturday, with Umar Gil doing a lot of the damage thanks to a 4-over spell where he took 3/11. Pakistan had shown some early wobbles batting first, being 2/28 at one point, but Younis Khan and Shoaib Malik steadied the innings and helped Pakistan on their way to a total of 181/6 from their 20 overs. In reply, Zim lost Vusi Sibanda and Chamu Chibhabha with the score on 16 - Tatenda Taibu and Hamilton Masakadza added 76 for the 3rd wicket, but Zimbabwe's innings quickly unravelled once Taibu was dismissed, with the remaining 5 wickets falling for just 35 runs on the board, handing Pakistan an 54-run win. Not the best of starts for Zimbabwe, and they'll need to do much better if they're to have any chance of pulling off an upset against England or Australia. Full scorecard below the cut.
Pakistan 181/6 (20 overs; Shoaib Malik 64*, Chigumbura 3/24), Zimbabwe 127/8 (20 overs; Masakadza 41, Umar Gul 3/11). Pakistan win by 54 runs.

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