The day started well with Zimbabwe winning the crucial toss and putting Sri Lanka into bat. Then initially Sri Lanka did very well and at one stage they looked like they were running away with the game, having scored 122 for no loss thanks largely to a rollicking start from Tillakaratne Dilshan.
Because Greg Lamb and Andy Blignaut were not playing due to some minor injuries, Zimbabwe tried to get the seamers’ overs out of the way early. Chris Mpofu bowled fairly well, but without any luck, whilst Elton Chigumbura and Chamu Chibhabha didn’t get much out of the pitch, nor did they have the pace to bother the Sri Lankans. In all their first 13 overs went for 89 runs, Dilshan getting 54 of those – eight fours and a six in them.
Enter Zimbabwe’s Spinners
Ray Price was introduced in the 12th over and with that came some control, he was accurate, aggressive and helped by some excellent fielding, began to build some pressure on the visitors.
Prosper Utseya, then got Dilshan stumped, followed up with Dinesh Chandimal’s wicket in the 25th over, and Zimbabwe was now back in the game.
Then a little surprisingly Hamilton Masakadza came to bowl for the first time in the tournament and managed a wicket with only his first ball. His celebration of showing off his vest with “just married” written on it, got him a few words from the umpire Rudi Koertzen, but I think he and everyone saw the funny side of it.
Sri Lanka had now lost 3 wickets for just 33 runs and from there it was all Zimbabwe, with Sri Lanka finally being bowled out for 236.
The Zimbabwe Batting Show
Led once again by the inform Brendan Taylor, Zimbabwe never really looked like loosing all their wickets. They did however start a little slowly, but always kept the required run rate under 5. Hamilton Masakadza was first to fall for 3, his first failure in the tournament. Taylor then got great support from Chamu Chibhabha who eventually scored a good 58 of 81 balls after a slow start. Tatenda Taibu then played very well scoring an unbeaten 42 of 55 balls. But it was Brendan Taylor’s 119 not out that really anchored the run chase for Zimbabwe. He went to only his second century in ODI’s with a cheeky single and then most impressively made sure that he was there at the end to see Zim through.
So Zimbabwe finished the group stage at the top of the log, having only lost one game to Sri Lanka and twice beating India. We can now only hope that they play as well in the final:
The final also against Sri Lanka will be played on Wednesday 9th June at 09:00 local time (07:00 GMT), or 8:00 British Summer Time. In Sri Lanka and India, the match starts at 12:30. Hours of play (local time): 09.00 start, First Session 09.00-12.30, Interval 12.30-13.15, Second Session 13.15-16.45
Zimbabwe Cricket Books
Amazon, have a bunch of Zim related cricket books, including "Blood, Sweat And Treason" by Henry Olonga, “A History of the Rhodesia and Zimbabwe National Sides” by Jonty Winch who traces the history of cricket in this country (Zimbabwe) from the first recorded game played in 1890, through two World Wars and a guerilla war, to the comparative peace of post-independence and eventual world recognition in the 1980s when Zimbabwe was able to send a side to England to take part in the I.C.C. Trophy competition which it won.
There is also the Autobiography of another great Zimbabwean cricket coach Duncan Fletcher “Behind the Shades”
At the moment Amazon UK don’t have as wide selection as the US site, but I have ordered books from the US and had them delivered to the UK with no problems.
Zimbabwe Cricket on Amazon.co.uk