Zimbabwe: Williams Rues Missed Golden Opportunity

22 April 2021

ZIMBABWE skipper, Sean Williams, said there were no excuses for failing to cause a huge upset against Pakistan yesterday after the Chevrons fluffed several good opportunities.

The hosts eventually fell to an 11-run defeat in the first Twenty20 international at Harare Sports Club.

The Chevrons, whose batting appeared shambolic after being set a modest target of 150 runs to win, were equality guilty of untidy fielding.

Williams was not happy they dropped almost half-a-dozen catches and conceded 15 extras, which came back to haunt them, when it mattered most.

Pakistan now lead the three-match series 1-0.

The 34-year-old had won the toss in the morning, and put Pakistan in to bat.

The Chevrons managed to restrict the visitors to 149/7.

The Pakistan batsmen had a bad day but an unbeaten 82, from opening batsman Mahommad Rizwan, made the big difference.

Rizwan was named man-of-the-match, for his 61-ball knock, which included 10 boundaries and a six.

He was dropped when he was on 13.

The only other Pakistani batsmen to score double-digit scores were Fakhar Zaman (13) and debutant, Danish Aziz (15).

But, Zimbabwe could only manage 138 runs, for the loss of seven wickets, in response.

"I think it's inexcusable, the number of catches that we dropped, especially against a team of this quality," said Williams.

"We had wanted to keep them to a score of around 130 runs, which I felt was the par score.

"The second-wicket partnership, to accompany that third-wicket partnership, was missing as well.

"I think the wicket played into our favour and winning the toss was crucial. It's inexcusable to lose a game like that.

"We will have to go back and do the basics again before the next match."

The second T20I is set for tomorrow at Harare Sports Club.

All the matches are being played behind closed doors under strict Covid-19 guidelines.

Zimbabwe went into the match without veteran Brendan Taylor, who was dropped at the last-minute, because of a stomach infection.

The Chevrons also missed the services of all-rounder, Sikandar Raza, who is recovering from surgery.

Taylor's absence was sorely felt, in the top order, where Zimbabwe had a youthful opening partnership of Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Wesley Madhevere, while 19-year old Tadiwanashe Marumani was handed his debut, at number three.

However, the young batsmen could not cope with the quality of the visiting bowlers.

Madhevere (14) was the first to go, off the bowling of Mohammad Hasnain.

Then Southern Rocks' 19-year-old top-order batsman, Marumani, followed the next ball, for a golden duck on his debut for Zimbabwe.

Marumani was given his T20 cap at the back of a successful domestic T20 Tournament, in which he scored three fifties, and was the tournament's second highest scorer.

Zimbabwe found themselves on 21/2 after three overs. Seasoned left hander, Craig Ervine, made a welcome return in the middle order, after missing the recent series against Afghanistan. He partnered Kamunhukamwe in what appeared the only meaningful partnership for Zimbabwe.

The pair put on 56, for the third wicket, and it looked like the Chevrons were still in the game. Zimbabwe were 73/2 after 10 overs.

Pakistan, in comparison, had scored 66 for the loss of three wickets.

However, the two batsmen were dismissed in a space of three balls as Zimbabwe slid to 79/4 after 11.2 overs.

Wickets continued to fall with Usman Qadir (3-29) and Hasnain (2-27) leading the way for Pakistan, in successful defence of a sub-150 total.

Ervine was the top scorer for Zimbabwe, with 34 runs.

Another returning player, Luke Jongwe, made an unbeaten 30 and also had two wickets to his name.

Pakistan, who were coming from a morale-boosting 3-1 win over South Africa in a T20 series that ended at the weekend, managed to keep their winning momentum.

However, skipper Babar Azam was not impressed by his team's performance yesterday.

"This wasn't a convincing win," he said.

"The batsmen are not performing, but we will try and come back in the second game.

"When you come to these wickets after bouncy wickets (in South Africa), you just need to adjust.

"If someone hung around with Rizwan, we could have put on a bigger total."

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