NAGPUR: Scotland’s chances of further participation at the World T20 ended in a match they will rue letting slip away. They took regular wickets to keep Zimbabwe to under 150 and then recovered from 20 for 4 to stay in the chase until the final over but in the end, remain without a win in a major tournament in 19 attempts.
Zimbabwe sneaked through for their second victory in qualification even though they failed to tighten up on the disciplines that almost let them down over Hong Kong. There were soft dismissals in their batting and they took their foot off the pedal after a superb start with the ball but they also had much to celebrate.
Sean Williams’ fifty held them together, Wellington Masakadza’s wickets at the beginning and in the middle allowed them to keep pulling Scotland back before Donald Tiripano’s death bowling sealed the win. If nothing else, Zimbabwe showed their ability to hold their nerve in pressure situations, which is what these events are all about.
The contest could have been over 19 balls into Scottish reply when their top four had all been sent back but Richie Berrington hung on. He survived the loss of a fifth wicket and then combined with captain Preston Mommsen to add 51 runs for the sixth wicket and threaten to take the game away from Zimbabwe.
Then, the contest looked decided in the 15th over when Masakadza’s double-strike included Mommsen’s wickets and saw the required run-rate balloon to more than ten an over but Josh Davey was on hand. He slammed 24 runs off 13 balls to leave Scotland with 30 runs to get off the final three. With Berrington still there, it seemed possible.
On a surface that was a touch slower than the one used on Tuesday, Tiripano took pace off the ball, Berrington was early into his shot and offered a catch to short third man. Davey was still there but after four balls in the penultimate over without a boundary, he tried to send Tinashe Panyangara over long-on and only got as far as Sikandar Raza.
Scotland needed 19 off the final over and took seven off the first three balls before Tiripano bowled Alasdair Evans with a slower ball and gave Zimbabwe reason for relief even though they would preferred to have more runs to defend.
Zimbabwe’s innings lacked fluency and was studded with setbacks which started with the captain. For the second successive match Hamilton Masakadza was run-out and this time in dangerous fashion. When Vusi Sibanda chopped one down to short cover, both he and Masakadza set off immediately for the single even as Kyle Coetzer at short cover swooped in. The pair continued ball-watching and collided into each other trying to complete the run.
Masakadza was well short of his ground and Sibanda needed on-field attention for a cut on his chin. He only lasted seven further balls, of which he faced two, before it all got too much. In characteristic Sibanda fashion, he picked out the man at deep square leg with the pull to put Zimbabwe in early trouble.
Richmond Mutumbami, who was not among the runs in the first match, seemed eager to compensate. He made Safyaan Sharif pay for errors in length and took on a Michael Leask full toss but the bowler responded in the field. In the next over, Leask was at long-off when Mutumbami tried to send Mark Watt down the ground but did not get enough on his shot. Leask almost dropped the first attempt and then caught it one-handed on the rebound.
Williams needed a partner but Sikandar Raza was dismissed early to leave Williams to take matters into his own hands after that. He brought out the sweep and found the boundary while rotating strike with Malcolm Waller. They put on 38 for the fifth wicket but just as they could look to accelerate Waller was caught at long-off.
Elton Chigumbura’s finishing was called on earlier than he may have liked and he gave himself time to settle in. Williams kept most of the strike early in their partnership and reached fifty off 36 balls, before Chigumbura announced his intent with a six off Evans.
When Williams departed three balls later, Chigumbura had to finish strongly but Scotland managed to keep him quiet for all but one ball, when he drilled Sharif for four. Scotland gave away just 19 runs in the last three overs and Zimbabwe may have been concerned they did not have enough. In the end they did, but only just.
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The 68th Anniversary of the Founding of the People’s Republic of China.
— The Daily Mail - People's Daily