NEW: Zim Select seal series

27 May, 2023 - 19:05 0 Views
NEW: Zim Select seal series

The Sunday Mail

Online Reporter

IN retrospect, the sixth and final match between the Zimbabwe select side and the Pakistan Shaheens was a lot tighter than it needed to be.

After Zimbabwe Select lost the toss and put 385 runs for seven on the board, very few would have given the Pakistan Shaheens any hope of coming close to the target, let alone, making a contest out of the run-chase.

But, chase well they did.

The two sides deserve a lot of credit for putting up quite a show with the bat at Harare Sports Club.

Craig Ervine picked up his second hundred of the series, finishing just five runs shy of what was going to be a well-deserved double century.

Not to be outdone, Mubasir Khan crafted a century of his own, which was the sum of graft, patience and controlled aggression.

They were also a few cameos from both sides.

The likes of Innocent Kaia and Ryan Burl, Kamran Ghulam and Rohail Nazir complemented their respetive centurions, rather well.

Unfortunately, there could only be one winner at the end. Zimbabwe held out for a hard-fought 32-run win, to clinch the Unofficial One-Day International Series 4-2.

Much like it has been throughout the series, Pakistan Shaheens skipper, Ghulam won the toss and elected to bowl first.

The hosts started in a manner that is fast becoming a disturbing trend as wicket-keeper/batter, Joylord Gumbie, was soon making his way back to the pavilion after he was caught by Ghulam off the bowling of Mohammed Ali after facing just two balls.

Gumbie’s duck brought Ervine to the crease earlier than he would have liked, but he made it count.

A second-wicket partnership between Ervine and Kaia saw the two pile up 187 off 164 balls, and form the back-bone of what turned out to be Zimbabwe Select best batting performance of the six-match series.

Ervine started off slowly as Kaia took on the Pakistan Shaheens bowlers, on his way to 92 runs off 79 balls.

The 30-year-old opener’s innings featured 10 boundaries and three maximums, before a moment of madness saw him throw away his wicket when he chipped the ball straight into the hands of Nazir off the bowling of Amir.

The duo of Raza Sikandar and Sean Williams did not last long, but they did chip in with 15 and 20 runs, respectively.

Their dismissals saw Burl join Ervine at the crease, and the two brought Zimbabwe’s score close to the 400-run mark.

Burl’s short but entertaining cameo saw him make 31 runs off 18 balls, before he was caught by Khan off the bowling of Aamer Jamal.

Ervine soon followed, and was unlucky to be run out during the penultimate ball of the innings.

In his attempt to get back on strike, and try for the maximum that would have given him his much-deserved double-century, Ervine was found a few inches short.

What made Ervine’s dismissal even worse was the fact that he attempted a suicidal single with Brandon Mavuta, in what later turned out to be a wide.

Had the duo been patient, they would have got a second bite of the cherry.

Ervine, in the end, finished on 195 runs off 148 balls and received a standing ovation from the crowd, and pats on the back from the Pakistan Shaheens players, on his way out.

It was the right reception for a special innings.

The hosts finished their innings at 385 for seven.

Mohammed Ali and Aamer turned out to be the pick of the Pakistan Shaheen bowlers, as they both had two wickets for 32 and 89 runs, respectively.

At this point, victory seemed certain for the hosts, especially after Blessing Muzarabani managed to get the wicket of the ever-dangerous Omair Yousuf early, and before he could do any damage.

Muzarabani had the Pakistan Shaheens top-order batter caught by sub, Wellington Masakadza for four runs.

In his absence, Khan and Nazir did manage to turn the run-case into a contest with the former scoring 115 runs off 77 balls while the latter finished on 87 runs off 91 balls.

However, the asking target and required rate were never in the visitors’ favour.

It did not do them any favours that the Zimbabwe bowlers took wickets at timely intervals.

Muzarabani, Tanaka Chivanga and Luke Jongwe each took two wickets, but Raza turned out to be the pick of the Zimbabwe bowlers, finishing with three for 66 runs during his allotted 10 overs.




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