Test & ODI Matches

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Netherlands Crumble Against Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe stormed to another convincing win in their second World Cup warm-up match in Dubai yesterday, beating Netherlands by 115 runs. Batting first after winning the toss, Zimbabwe powered their way to 249/8 from their 50 overs, again led by Brendan Taylor (56) while Regis Chakabva (29) and Tatenda Taibu (30) also made useful top-order contributions. At the other end of the order, Graeme Cremer held the innings together, coming in when Zim were on 158/7 and scoring a run-a-ball 42 not-out to help boost the eventual total. Mudassar Bukhari (3/42) and Bernard Loots (3/50) were the pick of the Dutch bowlers.

With the spinners having been given a good run in the previous warm-up match, Zimbabwe opted to test out their pace approach this time, with Chris Mpofu, Shingi Masakadza and Ed Rainsford all playing, while Elton Chigumbura finally found some form with the ball after what's so far been a woeful season for him. Rainsford made the first breakthrough, removing opener Eric Szwarczynski without score - although that was his only wicket of the match. Wickets fell regularly throughout the Netherlands innings - Alexei Kervezee top-scored with 33, but with the bottom three falling without score and Pieter Seelaar unable to bat through injury, Netherlands were never close to being in with a shout and were bowled out for 134. Mpofu led the Zimbabwe figures with 3/31 from 8 overs, closely followed by Chigumbura with 3/32 from 7 overs, while Sean Williams made a useful contribution, taking 2/5 after bowling just 8 balls.

That brings the Dubai leg of the tour to an end, and with two convincing wins (yes, against Associate opposition, but Ireland in particular are usually seen as being on a par with Zimbabwe these days) and some out-of-form players finally getting some decent performances under their belts - Taylor and Chigumbura in partcular - there's a lot that the side can take from these matches to boost their confidence. There are now two further warm-up matches to play in India, with the next - against South Africa in Nagpur on Saturday - being the "big one". Full scorecard for this match is below the cut.
Zimbabwe 249/8 (50 overs; Taylor 56, Mudassar Bukhari 3/42), Netherlands 134 (33.2 overs; Kervezee 33, Mpofu 3/31). Zimbabwe win by 115 runs.

Zimbabwe Trounce Ireland in World Cup Warmup

Zimbabwe are currently in Dubai for two warm-up matches ahead of the World Cup, and got their campaign off to a flyer with a 6-wicket win over Ireland yesterday. Both sides fielded 12 players in the match (11 batting, 11 fielding) so it doesn't count as a ranking or capped game, but Zimbabwe's performance in it was certainly impressive. Ireland were put into bat after Zimbabwe won the toss, and bar a 2nd-wicket stand of 95 by William Porterfield (66) and returning Irish hero Ed Joyce (45), it was all Zimbabwe's innings: once the 2nd wicket fell, Ireland lost their remaining 8 for 93 runs, with Andrew White (41) being the only other player to reach double figures. As expected, it was Zimbabwe's spin combination that did the damage, with Greb Lamb (3/30) and Graeme Cremer 2/21) leading the charge.

In reply, Brendan Taylor finally found some form, carrying his bat for the innings to end on 84 not-out, while Craig Ervine's 47 helped see Zimbabwe home with over 6 overs to spare. Alex Cusack was the pick of the bowlers for Ireland, with 2/29.

A convincing win for Ireland, then, against the side that held them to a famous tie last World Cup. The two will meet in another warm-up before the World Cup proper begins, but Ireland go on now to face Netherlands tomorrow before leaving Dubai. Full scorecard for this match is below the cut.
Ireland 204 (48.1 overs; Porterfield 66, Lamb 3/30), Zimbabwe 208/4 (43.5 overs; Taylor 84*, Cusack 2/29). Zimbabwe win by 6 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]

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

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]

Zim Lose Series But Remain Positive

Zimbabwe’s visit to South Africa continued along a similar pattern at Senwes Park on Sunday – a brave, competitive performance against their experienced neighbours – but another defeat. Rusty Theron’s five wicket haul along with another pair of centuries from Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers sealed the MTN ODI series for the Proteas in the second ODI which the home side won by eight wickets with 11 overs to spare.

Zimbabwe’s batsmen, lame and outgunned for much of the year, once again produced impressive form and, on the back of Tatenda Taibu’s 78, gave the visitors hope with a total of 268. But Theron certainly justified his late inclusion in the Proteas squad after originally being omitted and, despite a brilliant 110 from 103 balls by Amla and an even more dazzling, unbeaten 101 from 75 balls by de Villiers, his figures of 5-44 in just his second match were worthy of the man of the match award. "Whenever an opportunity comes along you do your best to make the best of it," Theron said.

Once again Zimbabwe made a steady start with openers Brendan Taylor (32) and Chamu Chibhabha (19) scoring 59 runs. But Theron’s many and varied changes of pace deceived Taylor and a top edge sailed high but safely into the gloves of keeper de Villiers. Two balls later Sean Williams edged his first delivery to de Villiers and all the momentum disappeared from the Zimbabwe innings when Chibhabha was deceived by a quicker ball from Wayne Parnell and de Villiers took his third catch.

As the bowling lines tightened and the fielding intensified, Zimbabwe’s ability to recover from the mini-collapse looked harder and harder. At one stage Zimbabwe had gone for 61 balls without a boundary until the 31st over. The middle and lower order added considerably to the final score, however, with Grant Flower (22), Craig Ervine (27) and Keith Dabengwa (28) all briefly increasing the run rate before perishing under the mounting pressure.

It was Tatenda Taibu’s brilliant half century, comprised mostly of his trademark quick singles, which breathed life into Zimbabwe’s innings. His disappointment was tangible when he edged a low catch to gulley for 78 from 90 deliveries with four boundaries and a six. A century and a total of 300 were within his grasp.

Graeme Smith was the first wicket to fall after his opposite number, Chigumbura, bowled an off-cutter which was lofted into the hands of Dabengwa for 40. Amla remained flawless till his consecutive century in this series; this is his fourth ton in the last seven innings and his fifth in his career. He played with his typical, risk-free approach, hammering 12 boundaries for his score of 110. AB de Villiers however was a lot more brutal scoring his ton from 72 balls and hammering five boundaries and five massive sixes for an unbeaten 101 runs.

"This tour means a lot to Zimbabwe and we will remain positive in this tour and will continue to work through our short comings," said Chigumbura. The last ODI match will be played on Friday the 22nd of October in Benoni. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 268 (48.2 overs; Taibu 78, Theron 5/44), South Africa 273/2 (39 overs; Amla 110, Chigumbura 1/33). South Africa win by 8 wickets.
[Source: ZC]

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