…Zimbabwe donate T201 opener
PAKISTAN extended their winning run against Zimbabwe with a gift-wrapped 11-run victory in the opening T20 international at Harare Sports Club yesterday.
Zimbabwe won the toss and captain, expecting to restrict the tourists to 130, opted to field but they wasted a very good chance to end a losing run against Pakistan.
The hosts dropped three catches in the opening 13 overs and one of them decided the match in the end with the beneficiary claiming the man-of-the-match award.
Zimbabwe were, once again, guilty of failing to put struggling teams away. Pakistan were there for putting away several times when they batted and in the end 12 wides bowled and the sloppiness in the field came back to cost them.
First ball of the fifth over, Mohammad Rizwan (21) was hustled by a short ball by Richard Ngarava, tried to pull it and a top edge went to mid-on where Tinashe Kamunhukamwe could not hold on to the catch.
That was a costly drop as Rizwan went to smash 20 runs off the final over to finish unbeaten on a match-winning 82 off 61 balls and lifting Pakistan to an unlikely 149/7.
Just to make it painful, Zimbabwe needed 20 off the final over and could only get eight runs from singles with Haris Rauf making life difficult for the eighth wicket partnership of Luke Jongwe and Wellington Masakadza, whose four dot balls in the 19th over all but sealed the hosts’ fate.
The next dropped catch came off the first ball of the sixth over when captain Sean Williams fluffed a sitter.
Jongwe sent the ball full on the middle and Fakhar Zaman (6) skied it to mid-on where Williams got into position well while backpedaling but the ball somehow burst through his hands over his right shoulder.
Zaman added just seven runs before falling to Wesley Madhevere the next over.
The third dropped catch came in the 13th over and it was Jongwe missing out again, this time wicketkeeper Regis Chakabva fumbling a gift from Danish Aziz. However, Jongwe still got Aziz in the same over before he could inflict damage.
In a post-match interview, Williams was not a happy man saying it was inexcusable the number of catches Zimbabwe dropped, especially against a side like Pakistan.
He said he wanted to keep Pakistan to 130, and felt that was the par total.
“I feel that second partnership to accompany that third wicket partnership was missing. The wicket played into our favour and winning the toss was crucial. Inexcusable to lose a game like that”
His Pakistan counterpart Babar Azam was not exactly overjoyed despite the win, which looked unlikely for much of the game.
“It wasn’t a convincing win. The batsmen are not performing, but we will try and come back in the second game. When you come to these wickets after bouncy wickets, you need to adjust.
If someone hung around with Rizwan, we could have put on a bigger total.”
Man-of-the-match Rizwan said:
“They won the toss and used the pitch well. The wickets here are different, the pitch keeps low. But Babar and I have this plan where if one fails the other tries to go deep. It’s working for now. In Zimbabwe, the ball doesn’t quite come on to the bat, but once Hafeez fell, my aim was to get us to 150.”
The next match of the three-game series is at the same venue tomorrow and Zimbabwe will be hoping that former captain, Brendan Taylor will be available.
Taylor was ruled out of yesterday’s opener as he was recovering from a gastrointestinal infection.