A-Team Matches

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Test Match Warm-Up Drawn

Chris Martin and Daniel Vettori took three wickets apiece to lead the New Zealanders to a sizeable first-innings lead in the drawn tour match against Zimbabwe A in Bulawayo. Zimbabwe A were dismissed for 241, 103 runs behind New Zealanders' first-innings score of 344 for 8.

Martin struck an early blow for his team, bowling Hamilton Masakadza in the ninth over with Zimbabwe A on 17 for 1. Graeme Aldridge got the other opener, Tino Mawoyo, in the next over before another run had been scored. There was some resistance from the middle order, though, as Regis Chakabva made 40 and Malcolm Waller 66.

Once Waller was dismissed, however, with Zimbabwe A 183 for 6, the tail folded quickly. Vettori finished with 3 for 35, while Martin took 3 for 31. Aldridge chipped in with 2 for 40 as well.

The New Zealanders sent Vettori to open with BJ Watling, to give him some batting practice ahead of the Test. Vettori scored 32 off 37 balls as New Zealanders made 49 for 0 before the game ended. Full scorecard below the cut.
New Zealanders 344/8 (90 overs; Williamson 86*, Utseya 3/75) & 49/0 (12 overs; Vettori 32*, Watling 16*), Zimbabwe A 241 (70.5 overs; Waller 66, Martin 3/31). Match drawn.
[Match report via ZC]

Tour Match Ends in Draw

The 2-day tour match between Zimbabwe XI and Pakistanis at Bulawayo Sports Club ended in a draw yesterday. After bowling the Pakistanis out for 222 in their first innings, a similar batting collapse left Zimbabwe XI with only a 3-run lead at the close of the first innings, although with good performances from Chamu Chibhabha ith the bat (70) and Greg Lamb with the ball (3/31), there were positives to be taken from the match - although neither man did enough to earn a call-up to the squad for the Test against Bangaldesh. Pakistanis reached 72/1 in their second innings before the close on Day Two, marking the end of the match as a draw. Full scorecard below the cut.
Pakistanis 222 (75 overs; Younis Khan 71, Lamb 3/31) & 72/1 (24 overs; Mohammad Hafeez 39, Zhuwawo 1/25), Zimbabwe XI 225 (70.3 overs; Chibhabha 70, Junaid Khan 4/62). Match drawn.

Mutizwa Saves Zimbabwe XI's Blushes to Secure Win Over Bangladeshis

Zimbabwe XI came away from their 3-day warmup match against Bangladeshis with what turned out to be a comfortable 4-wicket win - but it was only on the final day that anyone found enough form with the bat to really make an impression. The first two days were marked by a steady procession of wickets as the bowlers of both sides, helped by a pitch that had been deliberately prepared to be 'lively', made the most of conditions to make life hell for the batsmen. In the first innings, only the Bangaldeshi 7th-wicket pair of Nasir Hossain & Mushfiqur Rahim showed any staying power, putting on 72, a stand that proved to be the difference between the two sides as Bangladeshis were bowled for 188, followed by a miserable 113 by Zimbabwe XI. Bangladeshis' 2nd innings fared even worse - 147 - and with Zimbabwe XI ending the 2nd day on 3/2 chasing 223, it seemed that that 72 stand would be enough to secure Bangladeshis the game.

Day three proved to be rather different from the first two, though, as several of Zimbabwe XI's batsmen finally found their grove: Sikandar Raza led the way with a patient 39, before the 6th-wicket partnership between Craig Ervine and Forster Mutizwa swung the match decidedly Zimbabwe's way. Ervine eventually fell for 42, with the score on 184/6, but Mutizwa and Malcolm Waller guided the side to a much-needed victory - all the more a statement when you consider that this was very much a Zimbabwean 2nd string, while the Bangladeshis were playing very close to their full-strength side.

Mutizwa's heroics came too late to earn him a slot in the squad for Thursday's Test match, but he surely now has put down a marker for himself. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe will go into the Test - the side's first since 2005 - with the confidence that they need to make an impression. Full scorecard below the cut.
Bangladeshis 188 (60.1 overs; Mushfiqur Rahim 64, Ncube 3/40) & 147 (47.5 overs; Shakib Al Hasan 40, Utseya 3/25), Zimbabwe XI 113 (45 overs; Ervine 21, Robiul Islam 3/33) & 225/6 (63.4 overs; Mutizwa 87*, Shakib Al Hasan 2/41). Zimbabwe XI win by 4 wickets.

Australia A Complete Unbeaten Tour

The honours may have been even at the end of day one, but an exceptional partnership between Aussie openers Aaron Finch and David Warner on day two put the game well beyond Zimbabwe XI's reach - the home side started day two on 250/5, but an opening blitz by Peter Siddle, who took four wickets in the session, saw the remaining men skittled for an additional 50 runs, leaving Zimbabwe all out for 300. Warner and Finch then spent the rest of the day at the crease, scoring 282 before the close of play in an exceptional stand that Zimbabwe's bowlers were unable to break.

Day three saw the pendulum swing again as Zim's bowlers, lead by Ray Price, finally got the breakthrough they needed with the wicket of Finch just 3 overs into the day. From there, the remainder of the Aussies put up little in the way of resistance, bar Warner moving on to a hugely impressive double-ton, and a 61-run partnership for the final wicket between Jason Krejza and Mitchell Starc. They finished on 498, a lead of 198 runs - and based on their performances in other matches of the series, Zimbabwe XI should have at least been able to make the Aussies bat again on day four.

It wasn't to be, though, as the old bugbear of the batting collapse raised its ugly head again to blight the Zimbabwean innings. The opening pair of Mawoyo and Sibanda fell early, for 4 and 1 respectively; Elton Chigumbura claimed an unwanted pair when caught without scoring; and only Taylor (56) and Ray Price (39) put up anything that could be considered 'resistance' with the bat, as Zim XI were bowled out for 180, handing Australia A an innings win.

A disappointing end, then, to a series in which Zimbabwe showed some promise ahead of their now-imminent Test return - and there's now only a 2-day tour match against the visiting Bangladeshis (on 1-2 August) for them to regain some form ahead of that encounter. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe XI 300 (107 overs; Taylor 85, Siddle 4/45) & 180 (64.2 overs; Taylor 56, Marsh 2/13), Australia A 498 (137.5 overs; Warner 211, Price 4/116). Australia A win by an innings and 18 runs.

All Honors Even At The Close Of Day One

Zimbabwe XI gave a more positive performance against Australia 'A' on thefirst of the second four day match being played at Harare Sports club on Thursday. The home side was 250/5 at stumps. This is the second and final match between the two sides; Australia won the first match by seven wickets at the Country Club on Monday.

Four major changes were made in the Zimbabwean starting line-up. Captain Brendan Taylor and Raymond Price returned from injuries which ruled them out of the first match while fast bowlers Kyle Jarvis and Chris Mpofu were the other two additions. The four came in to replace Malcolm Waller, Keagan Meth, Tendai Chatara and Njabulo Ncube.

The opening pair got off to a slow start after Zimbabwe had won the toss and chosen to bat. Vusi Sibanda (33), though the major contributor in the 46 run partnership, was the first to depart after being bowled by Mitchell Starc. Tino Mawoyo was caught in the 27th over after laboring long and hard for an innings of 24 from 78 balls. By lunch Zimbabwe was 103/2 with Brendan Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza at the crease.

It was a very solid and the typical Taylor and Masakadza partnership. The pair added 96 runs for the third wicket, with Masakadza scoring a fluent 64 off 141 balls in a concrete innings which featured 11 boundaries. Captain Brendan Taylor clung on, partnering Craig Ervine (34) and looked set to finish being there at the close of play but I was not to be as Luke Butterworth trapped him leg before wicket with the new ball for 85 from 176

Butterworth struck again, this time inducing the outside edge of Craig Ervine. Regis Chakabva and night watchman Raymond Price are yet to get off the mark as the home side will be hoping to set a competitive total in their first innings. Butterworth was the pick of the Australian bowlers with figures of two for 28 in 13 overs which included seven maidens.

Play recommences at 09:30 tomorrow.
[Report courtesy ZC]

Australia A win First 4-Day Match

A feisty ton by Elton Chigumbura helped Zimbabwe Xi reach the final session but was incapable of rescuing the team from a seven-wicket loss against Australia ‘A’ on the last day of the four day match held at the Country Club in Harare. Zimbabwe XI trailed the Australians by 75 runs at the close of play on the third day, with Keegan Meth and Hamilton Masakadza at the crease.

Zimbabwe scored 230 in the first innings after electing to bat first. The home skipper Vusi Sibanda led from the front with a patient 91 off 214 balls and his opening partner Tinotenda Mawoyo (39) helped see off the vicious Australian quick bowlers. In reply Philip Hughes scored 125 runs from 204 balls and his captain Tim Paine (98) narrowly missing a century in Australia’s 439 run offset, giving them a 209 run first innings. Brian Vitori was the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers with figures of four for 86 in 22 overs.

Once again the openers handled the new ball with due diligence, Ben Hilfenhaus and Peter Siddle gave no room for the pair to score, but they managed to form a 64 run opening stand. Hamilton Masakadza (91) and Elton Chigumbura put up a fight going at 5.18 an over for their 102 run partnership for the sixth wicket. Chigumbura was stumped after making a run-a-ball 108 featuring 14 boundaries and four sixes. Zimbabwe had a 137 run lead after being bowled out for 346.

David Warner almost replayed his quick fire innings during the two-day warm-up match in Kwekwe when he cracked two sixes and nine boundaries for his 82 off 57 deliveries. Australia comfortably scored 138 runs in 26.4 overs. Phil Hughes first innings knock was the mainstay of Zimbabwe’s downfall earned him the man-of-the-match award. Zimbabwe XI will play the last four-day match against Australia ‘A’ at Harare Sports club on Thursday. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe XI 230 (101.5 overs; Sibanda 91, Krejza 3/24) & 346 (103.1 overs; Chigumbura 108, Copeland 3/64), Australia A 439 (115 overs; Hughes 125, Vitori 4/86) & 138/3 (26.4 overs; Warner 82, Chigumbura 1/25). Australia A win by 7 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]

Zimbabwe XI Draw Tour Match with Australia A

This match took place in Kwekwe earlier in the week. On paper, a draw is nothing to be sneezed at - and batting out a full 90 innings on the second day probably counts as a worthwhile achievement - but with Australia A posting 427 from 90 overs compared to Zimbabwe XI's 306, it's clear who was on top. Some good signs from Zim's batting, though, with Regis Chakabva continuing to be fairly reliable, Forster Mutizwa seizing his chance to shine with a 70-ball 67, and Elton Chigumbura finaly showing some signs of form - just in time for the upcoming Test against Bangladesh - with 95 & the best of Zim's bowling figures as well (1/51). Full scorecard below the cut.
Australia A 427/4 decl (90 overs; Ferguson 156*, Chigumbura 1/51), Zimbabwe XI 306/9 (90 overs; Chigumbura 95, Beer 6/109). Match drawn.

South Africa 'A' Sail Through To Finals

Rilee Roussouw's 90 off 93 balls sealed a place for South Africa 'A' in the finals of the Coca-Cola Challenge Triangular "A" Series, after they beat Zimbabwe XI by 17 runs at the Harare Sports Club (HSC) on Wednesday. The victory means South Africa 'A' will meet Australia 'A' in the final match at HSC on Friday.

Zimbabwe made three changes in the squad which left Vusi Sibanda in charge of the team. Brendan Taylor, Raymond Price and Keagan Meth were replaced by Brian Vitori, Malcolm Waller and Natsai Mushangwe. South Africa made one change of Rusty Theron replacing Ethy Mbalathi -this move eventually proved to be very fruitful for the visitors as he played a major role in the victory.

Roussouw came in at number three and top scored for South Africa, scoring his 90 with five boundaries and two massive sixes. His 78 run partnership for the fifth wicket with Vaughn van Jaarsveld (38) rescued the batting side from collapsing as they were 127 for four in just 32.5 overs. Zimbabwe managed to prevent the South Africans from repeating Tuesday's 298 target against Australia 'A' and kept them at 171/4 until the 40th. The tables turned as the South Africa scored 73 runs in the last ten overs and finished at 244/8 after 50 overs.

Brian Vitori was the pick of the Zimbabwean bowlers with figures of three wickets for 35 runs in nine overs. Former national team captain, Elton Chigumbura, also chipped in with 2/38 off his allotted ten overs.

Zimbabwe, though forming milestone partnerships, was bowled out for 227 runs after 43 overs. Vusi Sibanda (22) and Hamilton Masakadza (47) started the pursuit firmly with a 66 run opening stand. Regis Chakabva top scored with 50 from 54 deliveries and formed the highest partnership of 72 runs with Foster Mutizwa (39) for the third wicket.

Death bowl specialist Rusty Theron and fast bowler Craig Alexander demolished the Zimbabwean batsman sharing seven wickets between them, the bulk of the damage coming from their second spells that ripped Zimbabwe's middle order to undo the benefits of the two top order partnerships. The pair bowled their allotted ten overs and Alexander took 3/38 while Theron was the highest wicket taker of the match with 4/43.

Friday's game will be crucial for Jacques Rudolph and his men, as they go out to avoid a third consecutive defeat against the unbeaten Australian outfit. Full scorecard below the cut.
South Africa A 244/8 (50 overs; Rossouw 92, Vitori 3/35), Zimbabwe XI 227 (43 overs; Chakabva 50, Theron 4/43). South Africa A win by 17 runs.
[Match report via ZC]

Australia A Seal Final Spot

Australia 'A' thumped Zimbabwe XI by four wickets with 58 balls to spare in a Coca Cola Challenge Triangular Series encounter at Harare Sports Club yesterday to seal their place into Friday's final. Zimbabwe XI, who are yet to win a match in this series, won the toss for the first time in the series and elected to bat first.

The move backfired as they were bowled out for a paltry 159 runs in 48.2 overs with wicketkeeper batsman, Regis Chakabva's 45 off 104 balls the only meaningful contribution. Left arm seamer Mitchell Starc and off spinner Nathan Lyon were impressive with the ball, both grabbing three wickets apiece as Zimbabwe XI failed to construct any meaningful partnerships.

Australia 'A' vice captain Calum Ferguson top scored for the visitors with 57 runs from 69 balls in a knock that included four boundaries and a six. Together with opening batsman Aaron Finch, ensured that they team reached their target comfortably as they took on Zimbabwe XI's opening bowlers Christopher Mpofu and Keegan Meth in the mandatory Powerplay.

The introduction of spin saw Zimbabwe XI's fortunes briefly being revived as off spinner Prosper Utseya took a wicket and a run out in the 15th over. He would later finish with impressive bowling figures of three wickets for 27 runs in 10 overs. Meth and part-time bowler Brendan Taylor and Meth chipped in with a wicket apiece in the mid-overs but by then the Australians where now way over the required run rate.

Ferguson and Trent Copeland, who was unbeaten on nine runs then easily, took their side over the finishing line. Zimbabwe will now hope that South Africa 'A' lose to the Aussies on Tuesday and hope that they convincingly beat their northern neighbours on Wednesday for them to book a place into Friday's final. Full scorecard below the cut.
Zimbabwe XI 159 (48.2 overs; Chakabva 45, Starc 3/34) ,Australia A 162/6 (40.2 overs; Ferguson 57*, Utseya 3/27). Australia A win by 4 wickets.
[Match report via ZC]

Zimbabwe XI Narrowly Lose to South Africa A

It was a glorious case of two skippers and their wicket-keepers leading from the front in a heavily matched final ball decider between Zimbabwe XI and South Africa 'A' in the third match of the Coca Cola A series triangular challenge at Harare Sports club. South Africa left a crowd of well over 8,000 fans gusted in awe after Rusty Theron sealed the one run victory after dismissing Foster Mutizwa on the final ball.

South Africa 'A' won the toss and decided to bat first. Once again the Zimbabwean opening bowlers restricted the batting side to a low run rate, almost making ill of Jacques Rudolph's decision to bat first.

The remainder of the South African had the visitors submitting to the bowlers, three wickets fell for 52 runs by the 16th over; Prosper Utseya and Meth were at the forefront of the onslaught. Meth removed Loots Bosman (2) two balls after he had been dropped at mid on. A smart bowling change of introducing Utseya in the 12th removed Rilee Roussouw (5 and Justin Ontong (5) soon followed after a leading edge went back to Utseya.

Captain Jacques Rudolf was the star of an almost ordinary batting side as he patiently steadied the innings with a patient knock with his wicket-keeper Heino Kuhn. Rudolf finished off with 98 runs from 125 deliveries and only featured two boundaries from the knock. The pair built a 116 run partnership for the fourth wicket from 130 deliveries. Zimbabwe tightened the bowling only allowing for the odd boundary past the fielders. Rudolf was dropped at 31 but recovered and battled his way to his 50 which came off 71 deliveries with only one boundary. Utseya broke the partnership as Kuhn attempted to clear Craig Ervine at long off in the 36th over. South Africa was now in a more secure position at 168 for four.

Rudolph was unable to find another partnership with anyone in the middle order but South Africa managed to reach 238 runs for the loss of eight wickets. Utseya and Meth remained the pillar of Zimbabwe's bowling taking seven wickets between them, Utseya taking four for 49 in ten overs while Meth took three for 36 in ten overs.

Zimbabwe was previously struggled with a fragile top order but the last two matches have seen a turn of events and now the top order now has a knack for building decent partnerships. Vusi Sibanda (11) and Brendan Taylor (98) made on opening stand of 44 runs broken in the 12th over. Taylor and Hamilton Masakadza making 53 for the second wicket then Regis Chakabva (47) and Taylor made 65 for the third wicket.

Taylor led the chase in a mature and steady fashion similar to the South Africans' innings. His wicket-keeper, Chakabva, played a major supporting role as well rotating the strike while slowly piling the runs. Both teams looked at par for most of the match until the last ten overs when Zimbabwe was 154 for two -South Africa were 184 for four at the same stage thereby placing Zimbabwe in a precarious position where 8.5 runs were needed per over.

Much of the match's drama unfolded when Zimbabwe took the third power play in the 43rd over at 162 for three needing 77 to win from 48 balls. Former captain Elton Chigumbura hit two exquisite fours from the last two balls of the first over of the power play off Vernom Philander. He continued the onslaught in the next over by Rory Kleinveldt's, smashing him over the top for four. Chigumbura raced to 20 0ff just 12 deliveries in a knock that brought back memories of what he is capable of doing when he is at his best.

Craig Ervine (12) clouted a vital six in deep for his brisk 11 ball knock. The final episode to Zimbabwe's defeat came in the final over when ten runs were required in the final over with prosper Utseya and Foster Mutizwa in the middle and Rusty Theron bowling form the City End. Mutizwa took a single from the first ball, Utseya swung and missed the next ball and made up with a single on the third. The fourth ball gave Zimbabwe a glimpse of hope as Mutizwa cleared mid on with a pull shot. Theron placed the next ball in the block hall but Mutizwa managed to run two off it. Zimbabwe needed a single to tie the match and two to win. Theron bowled the same delivery this time a fraction more outside off stump and Mutizwa opened his stumps, strut forward swinging and missing giving Kuhn the easiest of stumpings. Full scorecard below the cut.
South Africa A 238/9 (50 overs; Rudolph 98, Utseya 4/49), Zimbabwe XI 237/7 (50 overs; Taylor 98, Philander 2/40). South Africa A win by 1 run.
[Match report via ZC]

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