Zimbabwe roar back into contention in five-match ODI series

Zimbabwe roar back into contention in five-match ODI series

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ZIBABWE –  Zimbabwe, led by a five-wicket burst for just six runs by teenage medium pacer Luke Jongwe, came storming back with a resounding 117-run victory over Zimbabwe in the third ODI match of their limited overs series against home side Afghanistan at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium, on Saturday night.

Led by an assuring 83 by the dependable Hamilton Mazakadza and leg spinner Graeme Cremer’s supportive 59, the visitors, down 0-2 in the ODI series before last night’s fixture, came roaring back into the match after being precariously placed during their innings earlier in the afternoon.

Chasing Zimbabwe’s 175 all out, the Afghans collapsed for 58 all out after the top order never got going. Jongwe (5-6) and his medium pace partners Neville Madziva (3-27) and Tendai Chosoro (2-18) sent back five top order batsmen to have the home side reeling. Not taking into account the frequent fall of wickets at the opposite end, Afghan opener Mohammad Shahzad was able to dictate terms with a 22-ball 31 tenure that saw three 4s and a six being registered to his name.

Earlier, the Zimbabweans were able to set up a moderate target from 48.3 overs, a decent score considering the circumstances they were up against early in their essay.

The invaluable eighth wicket rescue act by veteran Mazakadza (6x4s and 3x6s in 138 balls) and Cremer realised 104 runs, making sure the visitors were back in business after 19 overs. The two came together when the home side had pinned the opponents to 49-7 after Richmond Mutumbami (14) was the only one in the middle order to give Mazakadza some support. The slide started early when the Zimbabwean openers Peter Moor and Chamunorwa Chibhabha were back in the dressing room with ‘ducks’ to their names.

Cremer who hit three 4s and three 6s in his 75-ball stay, went after a tempting full-toss outside off from Mirvaiz Ashraf, to see Mohammed Nabi at long-on pocket the chance. Medium pacer Ashraf scalped three Zimbabwe victims for 20 runs.

Opening bowler Amir Hamza claimed 2-35 from his full quota of 10 overs while leggie Rashid Khan troubled the Zimbabweans with clever variations and googlies for 1-36 from 10 overs. Daulat Zadran from his 9.3 overs returned to the oavilion with 2-25.

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