By Perkins-Tino Bare.
Harare, Zimbabwe. (News of The South) – Focus now shifts to Afghanistan as the Irish got their consolation in a series which had all but been decided in the 3rd ODI played on Tuesday at the Harare Sports Club.
The Chevrons had earlier taken an assailable 2-0 lead in the series in the 3 match series which was more or less a repeat of that Hobart affair that left a sour taste in the mouths of many a Chevron.
Going into the match the Chevrons were rather relaxed as they rested paceman Tinashe Panyangara and Craig Ervine who had an appetite for Irish bowling as he had a half0-century and a full ton in the 2nd ODI. Tawanda Muzarabani got to have a go as the selectors rested that pair in favor of the youngsters. The youngest of the Masakadza brothers, wellington also maintained his place in the team together with Brian Chari, who is being opted for Hasmilton Masakadza who was dropped for his poor performances.
The Irish won the toss and decided to send in Zimbabwe to bat this time and the Chevrons batting faltered right from the beginning as it failed to kick on. Chamu Chibhabha soon departed for a mere4 whilst his opening counterpart Richmond Mutumbami departed for a plucky duck.
The positive thing to draw from the Chevrons` innings were the partnerships that they were able to string and held up the wickets from falling for a bit. These were the 3rd 4th and 5th wicket partnerships which as for the rest it was just absolutely pathetic to say the least starting from our opening batsmen and the tail-end batsmen from the 6th wicket as well.
First up on the crease in that series of partnerships was Brian Chari and Sean Williams who had a decent stand of 49 at the crease and this was the moment when we should have found our way back into the game. Brian Chari soon departed and the man himself did not have much as he only had 17 runs from a wasteful 56 balls.
After Chari in came the skipper Elton Chigumbura who partnered with Sean Williams for a decent 4th wicket stand of 32. After the 3rd wicket stand had sort of steadied the ship a bit, this one looked set to eventually bring back some sanity into the Chevrons innings but once Sean Williams got to his 50 its like he is then destined to be bowled out as he failed to kick -on from there. Chamu is another culprit as well in that manner as he has 16 half-centuries to speak of but not even a single ton to his name with his highest score being 99.
After Sean Williams in came man of the series Sikander Raza who made the highest partenership of the day with the skipper of 71 on the day. The 3rd one was vital as it took the Chevrons from 88/4 to 158 and even after this one, all we needed was the tail-enders to chip in as well with a couple of decent scores to add some weight to that score.
But then the Chevrons made a combined total of 28 off the last 5 wickets and that is simply pathetic. The Chevron tale went as follows at the end Chris Mutombodzi 3 Luke Jongwe 8, Wellington Masakadza out for a duck, John Nyumbu 7 and finally Tawanda Muzarabani was scuttled out for 3.
On the bowling side, it was mainly the new guys in the Chevron setup who dictated the proceedings as Tawanda Muzarabani, Luke Jongwe and Wellington Masakadza all had 2 wickets to speak of. This has been the positive from this bowling attack as it has been able to get wickets regularly during the course of the series.
The most important thing to draw for this series as we prepare to face Afghanistan is that we got that series win and the win saw the Chevrons climbing above the Irish into th spot. Afghanistan should pose yet another opportunity for the Chevrons to get those all important points and close the gap between them and Pakistan and the West Indies.
The series is set to be made up of 5 ODI`s and 2 T20`s with the warm up games having already started in which ZImbabwe`s Chairman`s XI is `thwarting` Afghanistan.
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