Zimbabwe save some face in loss to New Zealand
by AFP

Ground:Harare Sports Club, Harare
Scorecard:Zimbabwe v New Zealand
Player:AM Blignaut
Event:Videocon Tri-Series 2005/06

DateLine: 1st September 2005


New Zealand beat Zimbabwe in a one-day international triangular tournament match at Harare Sports Club here on Wednesday, but the home side at least saved some face in losing by only 27 runs.


Zimbabwe did well to keep the Kiwis to 238 all out - the first time all their batsmen were dismised on the tour.


The home side replied with 211, an innings ponderously built but sprinkled with sixes as confidence grew in the later stages of the game.


Before the match, Zimbabwe declared their policy of damage limitation. They succeeded by keeping New Zealand to an over rate hardly over four and a half.


This was hardly surprising as the Kiwi tourists lost Lou Vincent for a duck after deciding to bat first, Stephen Fleming went for 23, Craig Millan for five and Hamish Marshall for seven, giving them 67 for four wickets down.


But Scott Styris and Nathan Astle put on 62 for the fifth wicket and then Styris with Daniel Vettori came together for an eighth wicket partnership of 79.


Andy Blignaut with four wickets and Gavin Ewing with three were the main instruments of the Kiwis' being kept from running up another big score.


Zimbabwe's reply appeared at first to follow the old pattern of rout. Brendan Taylor made one and Chamunorwa Chibhaba was out for a duck, giving the home team the sort of start at five runs for two wickets that has become the norm of late.


Stuart Carlisle dug in for a desperately slow but valuable 20, from which his lower order colleagues felt they could capitalise on, especially when Charles Coventry hit Jeetan Patel for two consecutive sixes.


The chase was on, but they had left it too late. Man-of-the-match Andy Blignaut - who ended the day with 50 - and Coventry put on 63 for the seventh wicket, but the slow start meant the job was beyond them.


Although New Zealand have secured their place in the final of the triangular serioes, against India, Zimbabwe take the honours for a strong recovery.


Tatenda Taibu, the Zimbabwe captain, said: "I told the guys to try and spend more time at the crease. It was a good policy although it might have cost us at the end. Overall I can see an improvement coming."


Stephen Fleming was happy and had an eye on the final.


"This result was good for us as it showed we need to keep focused for the rest of the tournament. We still have work to do, especially with the India match coming up."


He said he hoped Chris Cairns's hamstring problem will have recovered by then.

(Article: Copyright © 2005 AFP)