Test & ODI Matches

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Zimbabwe Claim Easy Win in 1st ODI

Zimbabwe won the toss and opted to field in the opening ODI against Bangladesh today, a decision that went against the thoughts of Alistair Campbell, who in TV commentary stated he would have batted, but that soon paid dividends as Elton Chigumbura (3/27) struck with three early wickets. Chamu Chibhabha (2/28) also chipped in to cause major problems for the Bangladeshis, and at one point Bangladesh were reeling at 62/6. Two key partnerships then turned their innings around: a partnership of 53 runs for the 7th wicket between Mushfiqur Rahim (57) and Naeem Islam (20), followed by a pairing of 54 runs for the 9th wicket between Rahim and Dolar Mahmud (41). They allowed Bangladesh to reach 186 before the final wicket fell in the 47th over, a total somewhat higher than what Zimbabwe should have allowed them but that should still have been chaseable. Unfortunately, there was a casualty for Zimbabwe at this stage, as Prosper Utseya picked up an ankle ligament injury in the field and would play no further part in the match.

In reply, Zimbabwe started decently enough with openers Hamilton Masakadza and Chamu Chibhabha moving along at a good pace. Disaster struck when Chibhabha fell in the 8th over, though, followed next ball by Brendan Taylor, and another three balls later by Tatenda Taibu, whose brief innings was nothing less than suicidal. Those three wickets, all from the bowling of Abdur Razzak, left Zimbabwe in real trouble on 39/3 and needing a determined effort to steady the innings. Charles Coventry (32) provided that stabilising influence before he departed with the score at 90/5, and then the fireworks began as Stuart Matsikenyeri (47*) and Elton Chigumbura (60*) set about trying to teach Bangladesh a lesson. The pair began their partnership by cracking along at 8 an over, punishing any sloppy balls that Bangladesh gave them, before settling into a safer, slower pace that kept them in good stead and was more than enough to see the side home - the target was reached in the 35th over, giving Zimbabwe an more-than-comfortable 5-wicket win. Full scorecard below the cut.

Man of the Match, Elton Chigumbura
Man of the Match, Elton Chigumbura

Chibhabha celebrates with team-mates after taking Shakib Al Hasan<br />
Chibhabha celebrates with team-mates after taking Shakib Al Hasan's wicket

Bangladesh 186 (46.5 overs; Mushfiqur Rahim 57, Chigumbura 3/27), Zimbabwe 189/5 (34.4 overs; Chigumbura 60*, Abdur Razzak 3/36). Zimbabwe win by 5 wickets.
[Images used in this post ©ZC]

Zimbabweans Turn Tables on BCB XI

After being on the wrong end of the result in the first warm-up match, Zimbabweans turned the tables on their hosts to record a whopping 192-run win over BCB XI on Sunday. Put into bat after BCB XI won the toss, Zimbabweans posted 335/5 from their 50 overs - opener Brendan Taylor (139) and #3 Tatenda Taibu (68) did the bulk of the work, adding 188 for the second wicket, with other useful contributions by Elton Chigumbura (45) and Malcolm Waller (37*). For BCB XI, Mahbubul Alam and Faisal Hossain took two wickets apiece.

In reply, BCB IX simply couldn't get going - Faisal Hossain top-scored with a paltry 30 as the side were bowled out for 143. Chamu Chibhabha led the bowling figures for Zimbabweans, taking 3/29, while Chris Mpofu, Prosper Utseya and Graeme Cremer chipped in with two wickets each.

Tatenda Taibu scored 68
Tatenda Taibu scored 68
Brendan Taylor acknowledges the applause from mates after reaching 100. With Tatenda Taibu, Taylor put on 188 for the second wicket
Brendan Taylor acknowledges the applause from mates after reaching 100. With Tatenda Taibu, Taylor put on 188 for the second wicket
Brendan Taylor sweeps during his 139
Brendan Taylor sweeps during his 139

Much better outing by Zimbabweans, then, and a good practice run for what we hope will happen in the first ODI tomorrow. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabweans 335/5 (50 overs; Taylor 139, Mahbubul Alam 2/50), BCB XI 143 (36.4 overs; Faisal Hossain 30, Chibhabha 3/29). Zimbabweans win by 192 runs.
Images used in this post are © ZC.

Zimbabweans Fall to 4-Wicket Loss Against BCB XI

Zimbabwe's tour of Bangladesh didn't get off to the best of starts, as Zimbabweans fell to a 4-wicket loss to the BCB XI - although fans will be quick to point out that Bangladesh's opening tour match when they visited Zimbabwe earlier in the year wasn't much of an indicator either. Zimbabweans won the toss and opted to bat, and it was a story of many starts but only one man managing to push on to a good innings. It shouldn't be much of a surprise that that man was Tatenda Taibu, who marked the end of his 10-match ban with a composed 62. Brendan Taylor's 36 was the best of the rest, while man of the moment Hamilton Masakadza managed 22 as Zimbabwean worked their way to 206 before being bowled out at the end of the 42nd over. Tareq Aziz led the BCB XI bowling figures with 3/40.

In reply, BCB XI progressed pretty much the same way as Zimbabweans did, with several starts and one good innings. Faisal Hossain put on 81 not-out over the course of the innings, backed up by Saghir Hossain's 35 not-out, but there were very few other knocks of note in the innings. That was enough, though, as BCB XI reached their target in the 45th over, with 4 wickets in hand. Chamu Chibhabha marked his return to the side with figures of 3/32, with Kyle Jarvis and Graeme Cremer taking one wicket apiece.

Tatenda Taibu is bowled by BCB XI's Faisal Hossain
Tatenda Taibu is bowled by BCB XI's Faisal Hossain

Faisal Hossain batting during his unbeaten 81
Faisal Hossain batting during his unbeaten 81

Full scorecard for this match is below the cut. The second warm-up match is on Sunday (25th October), and Zimbabwe will be hoping for a better performance next time around.
Zimbabweans 206 (42 overs; Taibu 62, Tareq Aziz 3/40), BCB XI 207/6 (44.5 overs; Faisal Hossain 81*, Chibhabha 3/32). BCB XI win by 4 wickets.
Images used in this post are © ZC

Bangladesh Name Squad for Zim Series

The Bangladesh Cricket Board have named their sqaud for the series against Zimbabwe, with the most noticeable absentee being Mashrafe Mortaza, who has failed to recover from knee surgery in time. In his absence, Shakib Al Hasan will handle the captaincy. The full squad is:
Shakib Al Hasan (captain), Mushfiqur Rahim (wicketkeeper), Tamim Iqbal, Junaid Siddique, Mohammad Ashraful, Raqibul Hasan, Mahmudullah, Naeem Islam, Enamul Haque Jr, Rubel Hossain, Dolar Mahmud, Shahadat Hossain, Abdur Razzak, Nazmul Hossain
CricInfo - Injured Mortaza out of Zimbabwe ODIs

Zimbabwe to Tour South Africa

Zimbabwe will visit South Africa for a two-match ODI series in November, in a move seen as giving the Proteas a warm-up ahead of England's visit to the country. The first match will be at Willowmore Park, Benoni on November 8th (just 3 days after the final ODI in Bangladesh), with the 2nd at Centurion on November 10th.
CricInfo - Zimbabwe to tour South Africa for ODIs

Zimbabwe Close Kenya Series Out in Style

Another personal best by in-form Hamilton Masakadza helped Zimbabwe speed to a huge 142-run victory in the final ODI versus Kenya on Sunday and made sure that, despite the visitors having sneaked one surprise win during the series, there was no doubt as to who was the stronger side. Following the patter of the series, Zimbabwe opted to bat after winning the toss and set about racking up a formidable total - Masakadza (178*) carried his bat for the full innings, in doing so becoming the highest-scorer in all ODIs during 2009 (936 runs so far). His efforts were aided by Forster Mutizwa (55), with whom he put on a 127-run opening stand; Brendan Taylor (52); and Charles Coventry (25). No matter what the Kenyan bowlers tried, though, it didn't seem to work on the day - breakthroughs were few and far between as Zimbabwe raced to 329 from their 50 overs. Nehemiah Odhiambo was the pick of an unlucky buck, taking 2/56 from his 8 overs.

Kenya, then, were clearly facing a mountain of a climb to save the match, but the top three of David Obuya (27), Alex Obanda (4) and Collins Obuya (22) set about their task with a true sense of resolve - the trio scored at 10/over during the early part of the innings as Zimbabwe's new seam attack - Chris Mpofu and Trevor Garwe - were dispatched with no sympathy. The arrival of Ray Price into the attack, though, changed the complexion of the match very quickly, as runs dried up and Price took the wicked of David Obuya in his first innings with the ball. From there, runs were much harder to come by for the Kenyans, while the Zimbabwean bowlers finally began to make inroads into the Kenyan batting order. Price (2/15 from 7) and Utseya (1/20 from 8) where at their frugal best, while Mpofu's 3/44 helped deal with the middle-order. Jimmy Kamande top-scored for Kenya with 37, but with none of the side able to build a significant innings there was never any doubt, once the initial flurry was halted, as to who would be the eventual winner. Kenya were bowled out for 187 in the 40th over, giving Zimbabwe a huge margin of victory.

It should hopefully also give them a good deal of confidence to take into the Bangladesh tour, although that tour already promises to be a much more difficult affair. Still, nice to see the guys teach the Kenyans who's boss. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 329/3 (50 overs; Masakadza 178*, Odhiambo 2/56), Kenya 187 (39.3 overs; Kamande 37, Mpofu 3/44). Zimbabwe win by 142 runs.

Zim Take Series with Comfortable Win in 4th ODI

Zimbabwe took an unassailable 3-1 lead with a win in the 4th ODI that proved comfortable enough, although at time, it didn't feel comfortable. Kenya won the toss and opted to bat, and as in the 3rd ODI immediately took the fight to Zimbabwe's bowlers - if there's one thing that can be said for Kenya in this series, it's that they've quickly gotten the measure of our bowling attack and haven't been afraid to exploit it where they can. David Obuya (49) and Alex Obanda (33) put on 64 for the opening wicket, scoring at nearly a run a ball, and with other useful contributions from Rakep Patel (47) and Maurice Ouma (58), Kenya were able to rack up an imposing total of 270/8 from their 50 overs. Prosper Utseya was the best of an expensive Zimbabwean attack, taking 4/46 from his 10 overs.

That left Zimbabwe chasing a higher total today than the one they'd failed to chase on Thursday, but whereas in the 3rd ODI our batting had let us down, today it was all hands on deck. Hamilton Masakadza (23) was the first to fall, but from there those who got their chance at the crease all made the most of it - Mark Vermeulen (56) and Forster Mutizwa (79) added 111 for the second wicket, while Brendan Taylor (60*) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (37) also played a key part. While the innings was steady, though, it wasn't without its nervous moments for Zimbabwe fans, as the run-rate, which had been well ahead of the required rate for most of the innings, gradually fell back to at or below the required rate during the later stages - a worrying development, given the way the 3rd ODI had panned out. A late burst, though, saw Zimbabwe reach the target with 2 overs to spare, winning the match by 6 wickets and securing the series in the process.

If Zimbabwe want to come out of the series with a net gain in their world ranking points, though, they'll still need to win the remaining match on Sunday, so it's not exactly a dead rubber yet. See you then. Full scorecard for this match is below the cut.
Kenya 270/8 (50 overs; Ouma 58, Utseya 4/46), Zimbabwe 271/4 (48 overs; Mutizwa 79, Odhiambo 2/46). Zimbabwe win by 6 wickets.

Kenya Spring Surprise on Zimbabwe

Oh dear. Kenya have clearly been paying attention to Zimbabwe's tactics in this series, and gave the home side a taste of their own medicine on the way to securing a surprise win in the 3rd ODI, although by most accounts they were helped to their victory by a series of questionable decisions by Zimbabwe captain Prosper Utseya - more on that later.

Kenya won the toss on this occasion and opted to bat first, and soon stamped their authority on the game as openers David Obuya (56) and Alex Obanda (65) raced their way to an opening partnership of 119, scoring at over 6/over, before Hamilton Masakadza finally got the breathrough and removed Obuya. At that point, Zimbabwe's bowlers finally managed to get a grip on the match and started to choke the Kenyan run-rate as they've done in the other matches in the series, but the early damage had been done and was compounded by Utseya's decision to bowl a string of more expensive bowlers in the final overs when the economical choices - Price, Masakadza and himself - still had 7 overs left to bowl between them.

A telling set of statistics: Chigumbura, Jarvis and Cremer were all costly on the day (each going for over 6/over); Utseya, Price and Masakadza where the ones to choke the runrate, each costing less than 4/over. Look at these spells, and guess who was bowling when:
First 20 overs: 119/1
Next 19 overs: 66/5
Final 11 overs: 81/3
Those final overs were to prove very, very costly in the long run. Kenya finished their innings on 266/9, with Masakadza and Price sharing bowling honours with 2/22 each, and crucially overs to spare.

Zimbabwe, then, were left facing a target that was considerably higher than it could (should?) have been, and things went from bad to worse when the early dismissals of Mark Vermeulen and Charles Coventry left the side staring down the barrel of another Zimbabwe Collapse™. Hamilton Masakadza (44), in partnership with Brendan Taylor, steadied the ship but didn't have another huge knock in him today, and it was left to Taylor and Stuart Matsikenyeri (58) to save the match for Zimbabwe. With both men unable to score at anything close to the required rate, though, the match slowly but surely went beyond Zimbabwe's reach, and when Hiren Varaiya struck twice in quick succession to remove both men, the writing was firmly on the wall. Elton Chigumbura remained at the crease as Utseya, Cremer and Price went in quick succession, leaving Chigumbura and Kyle Jarvis needing an unlikley 32 off the final over - and sure enough, that proved a little too high a target even for Boom Boom to reach, and Kenya secured a 20-run victory. Sean Williams was unavailable to bat for Zimbabwe due to injury, which didn't help the cause either.

So, it seems that Utseya's choice of bowlers in the dying overs of Kenya's innings led to far more runs being leaked than should have been that case, and that cost us dearly. Full scorecard below the cut.
Kenya 266/9 (Obanda 65, Masakadza 2/22, Price 2/22), Zimbabwe 246 (49.5 overs; Taylor 92, Odhiambo 4/61). Kenya win by 20 runs.

Zimbabwe Take 2-0 Lead with Second ODI Win

Zimbabwe weren't as dominant in the second ODI in Harare today, but they were still strong enough to secure a second win against the visiting Kenyans. Batting first after again winning the toss, Zimbabwe put in a far more fragile display, where the key performances of opener Hamilton Masakadza (66) and Stuart Matsikenyeri (71*) helped the side to a total of 263/7 from their 50 overs. Unlike yesterday, there were a number of players who failed to get going, and at times Zim looked likely to fall short of a good total, but some lower-order fireworks by Matsikenyeri and Graeme Cremer (31* from just 19 balls) gave a late boost to the side's fortunes. For Kenya, Hiren Varaiya marked his debut in the series by taking 3/38, proving that it's not just Zimbabwe who can play the spin game.

In reply, Kenya got off to an early flyer as openers David Obuya and Rakep Patel put on 57 for the first wicket, but once Patel fell the same procession of wickets that doomed the Kenyans in the first ODI put paid to their chances again. David Obuya's 49 was the best of the bunch, but with Zimbabwe's spinners locking down the middle overs in impressively frugal style and Cremer (6/46) and Prosper Utseya (3/29) taking regular scalps, the final outcome was known long before the Kenyan innings ended. Kenya were finally bowled out for 177, giving Zimbabwe an 86-run win and a 2-0 lead in the 5-match series. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 263/7 (50 overs; Matsikenyeri 71, Varaiya 3/38), Kenya 177 (44.5 overs; D Obuya 49, Cremer 6/46). Zimbabwe win by 86 runs.

Zimbabwe Steamroller Kenya in 1st ODI

Last time these two sides met in an ODI series, it was a 5-0 whitewash to Zimbabwe - and so, with home advantage this time around, I suspect that nothing less than another 5-0 drubbing will do for Zimbabwean fans. On the basis of Zim's showing in the opening match of the series, that shouldn't present a problem.

Zimbabwe won the toss and, unusually perhaps, opted to bat first. That decision was soon shown to be the correct one, as openers Hamilton Masakadza and Mark Vermeulen soon set about creating the foundations for an impressive Zimbabwean total. The pair put on 121 for the first wicket before Vermeulen was trapped lbw by Nehemiah Odhiambo, but where often the fall of Zimbabwean one wicket may have led to a collapse, this time around the following batsmen also played their part. There was no repeat of Charles Coventry's heroics against Bangladesh, but he added a useful 27, while the arrival of Brendan Taylor at 5th led to a flurry of runs as he smashed 44 not-out off 27 balls as part of a 97-run partnership with Masakadza. That pairing ended with just 7 balls left in the innings, as Masakadza was finally run-out, having reached a career-best ODI total of 156. Lameck Onyango had the dubious honour of conceding the most expensive spell in Kenyan ODI history - 91 runs from 10 overs - while at the other end of the scale, Obhiambo was the best of the bunch, taking 2/45 as Zimbabwe finished on 313/4 - an impressive total, to be sure, but it won't have been forgotten that the side managed to blow another 300+ lead against Bangladesh not that long ago.

For Kenya, the sad truth was that their reply never really got off the ground. While the opening batsmen were keen to take the fight to Zimbabwe and did score at a reasonable rate off the bowling of Kyle Jarvis and Elton Chigumbura, wickets fell at regular intervals, with only the ever-impressive Steve Tikolo (49) making any real progress. Come the arrival of the spinners, and the runs dried up as well, leaving Kenya to bat for scraps. The lower-order pairing of Odhiambo and Peter Ongondo provided the equal-best partnership of the innings, putting on 42 for the 8th wicket (matching the 4th-wicket stand of Tikolo and Maurice Ouma), but that was a rare bright spot in the innings. With the ball, Jarvis marked his ODI & List A debut with an impressive 3/36, while the spin trio of Proser Utseya (3/36), Graeme Cremer (1/31) and Ray Price (1/40) showed that competition for places is now alive and well in the Zimbabwe squad, with each producing very similar economy figures. Kenya were finally bowled out for 222 with just one ball remaining in the innings.

One down, then, and four more to go. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe 313/4 (50 overs; Masakadza 156, Odhiambo 2/45), Kenya 222 (49.5 overs; Tikolo 49, Jarvis 3/36, Utseya 3/36). Zimbabwe win by 91 runs.

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