It was a battle between the two minnows Zimbabwe and the associates, Canada. It was expected to be a predictable encounter and a tepid crowd gathering vindicated the assumption. The only interesting thing in the match was the colour of the outfit both teams had, as both of them were in red. Zimbabwe scored a massive 298 for 9 of their 50 overs and knocked Canada out for 123 with almost 8 overs to spare. The wicket keeper batsman, Tatenda Taibu was awarded man of the match for his exemplary 98 of just 99 balls.
It was the city of oranges, Nagpur with wonderful pitch and a fast outfield as most of the grounds in India. The battle was open for a run feast. Zimbabwe won the toss and rightly, elected to bat first. Zimbabwe received severe blows from Canada as both openers, Brendon Taylor and Charles Coventry, were back in the pavilion with the score at seven in the fourth over. Taibu and Ervine took command from thereon and managed a mountain stand of 181 of 161 deliveries. Ervine departed to Rao when the ball bounced a little more than expected while he was all set to convert into a ton. Taibu placed some elegant drives, cuts and sweep shots but was unfortunate to run out of gas when he was at 98 and got out to Rao sweeping the ball and top edging it. Chigabura was sent back by Cheema and the man of the moment, Balaji Rao, soon helped his side by picking up Gregory Lamb and Sean Williams before Williams could have converted his start to a big score. Zimbabwe lost momentum amidst wickets falling at regular intervals. Zimbabwe closed shop at 298 for the loss of 9 wickets in their allotted 50 overs. Balaji Rao was pick of the bowlers while Chohan and Baidwan shared two wickets a piece.
Canada had to bank heavily on veteran, Davison and Rizwan Cheema if they had to come anywhere close to what the opposition had forth for them to chase. The oldest and youngest player of the tournament in John Davison, 40 and Nitish Kumar, 16 came out to open the innings for Canada. Davison’s early departure in the second over didn’t do any good the Canadian confidence. Kumar soon departed chipping one straight down the throat of Ray Price who is having a gala time opening the bowling for Zimbabwe this season. Price soon got his third scalp as captain Bagai swept one straight in the hands of square leg. Canada was tottering at 14 for 3 after 10 overs. Gunasekra and Hansara tried to steady the ship but were always playing the catching up game, they both departed in consecutive overs leaving Canada at 50 for 5 in 22nd over. Cheema was cheaply dismissed by Utseya. It was then a formality for Zimbabwe to wrap up the Canada innings and their spin attack didn’t let them down as they shared all the wickets amongst them.
Although the result of the match wouldn’t affect the standing too much but will certainly give Zimbabwe zeal to make amongst the best four who will crossover for the quarter-finals.
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