Zim crash out of tri-series

HARARE - An improved Zimbabwe cricket team crashed out of the ongoing Twenty20 triangular series after going down by seven wickets in their third match against Pakistan here yesterday.

The hosts’ final round-robin match against Australia tomorrow will only be of academic interest as they can no longer make it into Sunday’s final.

Yesterday, there was a significant improvement from Zimbabwe following the last two matches which saw the side lose heavily but the margin of victory for the Baggy Greens does not reflect how tight the game was.

Zimbabwe made three changes bringing in explosive opener Cephas Zhuwao for Chamu Chibhabha, Malcolm Waller for Ryan Burl and Wellington Masakadza for John Nyumbu.

After being asked to bat first, Zhuwao and fellow opener Solomon Mire scored 49 runs for the first wicket partnership before the former was dismissed for 24 runs.

Mire stayed behind and held the innings together before going on score a career best 94 off just 63 deliveries.

The opener’s knock featured six boundaries and six maximums as Zimbabwe totalled a competitive 162/4 in their 20 overs.

Captain Hamilton Masakadza once again struggled with the bat scoring just two runs while Rising Stars’ youthful batsman Tarisai Musakanda once again weighed in handy for the team with 33 runs.

Pakistan’s opening partnership bettered the Zimbabwe bowlers’ scoring 58 runs before Haris Sohail was caught by Mire off the bowling of spinner Wellington Masakadza in the seventh over for 16.

His fellow opener Fakhar Zaman fell three runs shy of a half century in the 12th over after he was caught by Chris Mpofu off the bowling of man-of-the-match Mire.

Mpofu would also celebrate his own wicket in the 18th over when he had Pakistan number three batsman Husaain Talat caught at point by Zhuwao for 44.

However, the Asian side’s captain Sarfraz Ahmed (38) and the experienced Shoaib Malik ensured their team crossed the finish line reaching 163/3 with five balls remaining.

Although Zimbabwe finished on the losing side, Mire was duly named the man-of the-match.

“I think I sort of realised that I was probably seeing the ball a bit better than I had anticipated,” Mire said of his knock.

“Today it was more of utilising that form that I feel I have got at the moment…it was about getting runs as a first timer I didn’t really feel nervous getting in the 90s because it wasn’t important for me today it was more about to try and hit throughout the end.

“We thought once we scored it was enough; it had to be enough because that’s what we had. I thought if we bowled well enough probably starting well we could have made a bit of a challenge for those guys to chase it but obviously that wasn’t the case but I thought they’re still the number one T20 side in the world and to take it to the last over (was commendable) we could have done better but it’s still an improvement from the last game that we played.”

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