The Sunday Mail
Zimbabwe’s Cricket Under-19 team got a wake-up call, ahead of this year’s International Cricket Council (ICC) Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup, which will be hosted by the West Indies.
The Zimbabwe Cricket U-19 team suffered a 155-run defeat at the hands of Bangladesh in a preparatory match played at Basseterre in St Kitts on Tuesday.
Bangladesh won the toss and decided to bat, before they were bowled out for a total 277 runs in 49.5 overs.
Zimbabwe’s bowling innings started on a good note with the dismissal of Iftakher Hossain from six balls for a single run.
But, the Asians were brought back into the game by Ariful Islam, who scored 40 runs from 52 balls and Aich Mollah who scored 82 runs from the same number of deliveries.
With Connor Mitchell claiming four of the eight wickets, which saw Bangladesh being down for 200 runs, all seemed well for The Young Chevrons, until the duo of Rakibul Hasan and tail-ender, Ripon Mondol, added 74 runs in less than 10 overs to turn a moderate total into a good one.
The Zimbabwe U-19s had a difficult task in front of them, and soon lost Panashe Taruvinga without scoring.
Top-order batsman, Mitchell, was playing a solid defensive role for three not out, but Steven Saul came in next and immediately launched into the attack, quickly scoring 20 not out off 14 balls, including a six and three fours.
At this point, however, with the score at 27 for one wicket off seven overs, rain stopped play, and when they returned the target had been revised, by the Duckworth-Lewis system, to 256.
Mitchell was out for 10 with the score at 41, but Saul continued to attack the bowling with success.
His partners, however, were not able to push the score along quickly enough, and at 69, in the 19th over, Saul became the fourth wicket to fall, having scored 39 off 45 balls, with a six and five fours.
After this, the later batting collapsed, with the exception of Tashinga Makoni, who scored 22.
The score was 104 for six at one stage, but the last four wickets all fell, and the Zimbabwe U-19s were bowled out for 110 in 35.2 overs.
Attention now turns to the ICC Under-19 Men’s Cricket World Cup 2022 proper, which gets underway in the West Indies on Friday.
The Zimbabwe U-19s are in Group C, and will open their campaign against the Afghanistan U-19s at the Diego Martin Sporting Complex in Trinidad and Tobago on January 16, before they take on the Papua New Guinea Under-19s at the same venue on January 20.
In their last group fixture, the Zimbabwe U-19s will face the Pakistan U-19s at the Queens Park Oval, also in Trinidad and Tobago, on January 22.
The tournament format will see the top two teams from each of the four groups advance to the Super League, while the remaining teams feature in the Plate competition.