14 February 2013

Zimbabwe: Chigumbura's Team Shines

ZIMBABWEAN cricketer Elton Chigumbura's Sylhet Royals bounced back, as they crushed Khulna Royal Bengals by 61 runs in the Bangladesh Premier League yesterday. Their openers, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Paul Stirling helped lay the foundation for the big victory with a 134-run stand.

They scored 66 each, striking 19 fours and three sixes between them, to lead Sylhet to 196 for 3 in their 20 overs. Chanderpaul used the crease expertly during his innings, and even employed the switch-hit a number of times with mixed results.

He had more success with the sweeps, which he played between square leg and the wicketkeeper. Stirling drove belligerently for most of his innings, thriving on the strike he was fed by Chanderpaul.

After the openers fell and the Royals needed a final flourish, Nazmul Hossain Milon played his best innings of the tournament. He hit five sixes in an unbeaten 14-ball 36 that took the Royals' total close to the 200-mark. He struck five sixes, and was much more aggressive than Chigumbura, with whom he shared an unbroken 52-run stand.

Royal Bengals couldn't make amends with the bat. Mithun Ali and Riki Wessels added 84 runs for the fifth wicket, after their top order was dismissed cheaply, to reduce the margin of defeat. Mithun scored 60 off 47 balls, his first major contribution in this year's competition. This was Sylhet's eighth win in the tournament, but they remained in second position behind Dhaka Gladiators.

Meanwhile, a Scottish cricket club called Ferguslie has signed Matabeleland Tuskers and Zimbabwe national team hopeful all rounder Keith Dabengwa.

"Dabz", as he is known in the cricket circles, is an experienced left-arm spin bowling all-rounder, who has represented Zimbabwe in 48 matches between 2005 and 2010. He has to date, played 240 domestic matches across all three formats. Speaking to OFF THE CREASE in an interview Dabz says he is looking at sharpening his skills in Scotland.

"I am going there to work on a few areas of my cricket, l love challenges and definately this will be yet another chance for me to improve my game" he said.

The 32-year-old, who is heavily involved with coaching in Zimbabwe cricket, has previously enjoyed one (albeit brief) season's league cricket abroad.

A favourite of former national team coach Walter Chawaguta, Dabengwa had some flashes of brilliance during his days with the national team.

On the issue of him missing in action for his country in the recent past Dabengwa was quick to say he has areas he still needs to work on as an all-rounder.

"I am not worried that much about being in the national team, l know l will bounce back. l need to work on a few areas of my cricket hence the move to Scotland during the off season" he added. In 2006, Dabengwa played for Hampshire club Lymington in the Southern Electric Premier league, before heading to the West Indies on national duty mid-season. The all-rounder will join Ferguslie for their Cricket Scotland League Western First Division campaign in April.

He will follow in the footsteps of fellow countryman and CricX stable-mate Malcolm Waller who played a brief stint for the club last summer.

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