Sep 042013

A 127-run partnership between Malcolm Waller and debutant Sikandar Raza helped Zimbabwe to a slender 32-run lead with three wickets in hand over Pakistan at the end of the second day of the first test in Harare.

Zimbabwe were 281 for seven in reply to Pakistan’s first innings total of 249 all out.

Waller played with flourish as he scored 70 off 100 balls, hitting 14 fours, while Pakistan-born Raza notched 60 on his test debut.

The batsman, usually a one-day specialist but pressed into test service after Zimbabwe captain Brendan Taylor withdrew on the morning of the first day because of the birth of his first child, started cautiously but then opened his shoulders with some stylish stroke play for an impressive innings.

He only recently received Zimbabwe citizenship in order to play international cricket.

A watchful knock from all-rounder Elton Chigumbura added valuable runs late in the day as he scored 40 not out.

Off spinner Saeed Ajmal took four wickets for 77. It served to temper his disappointment at not reaching only his second test 50 at the start of the day.

Ajmal failed to add to his overnight score of 49 when he was bowled with the second ball of the morning.

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Sep 042013
Zimbabwe vs Pakistan 1st Test (Day 2): Ajmal takes seven, but Zimbabwe take lead!

Saeed Ajmal eventually snared Malcolm Waller and Sikander Raza, but their 127-run partnership hands Zimbabwe the whip

Match Report: 1st Test, Zimabwe vs Pakistan at Harare Sports Club, September 04, 2013.

Zimbabwe began the day in ideal fashion as Tendai Chatara slanted one in first ball, and threaded Ajmal’s bat-pad gap. It dashed the hopes of his half-century, also ending Pakistan’s innings for an under-par 249. As always, it was left to the bowlers to restore parity in the game.

The hosts began in circumspect fashion, and barring a lucky four, were generally kept quiet by Junaid Khan and Rahat Ali’s discipline and pace. Without their best two batsmen: Taylor and Sean Williams, they were perhaps aware how quickly Pakistan could run through this line-up. Just as Mawoyo was growing in confidence, Junaid came around the wicket and the change of angle had him nicking behind. Sibanda, in good form in the ODI series then took on Rahat Ali and briefly came out on top. One particular over, when he glanced a four to fine-leg fence, before twice hitting along-the-ground off drives to extra cover and long off, was particularly impressive. Masakadza greeted Ajmal with a terrific Zimbabwe looked in control at lunch, 67/1.

After lunch however, the familiar issue of a set batsman throwing away his start re-appeared as both men fell to consecutive balls from Junaid (who took out Sibanda) and Ajmal. Pakistan’s lead was 180 and it looked like they would soon settle for a huge lead. However Malcolm Waller came out with a positive frame of mind and played a fiesty little cameo, even as Sikander Raza, playing against his country of birth, dropped anchor. Waller hit his first ball, against Ajmal, to cover fence and punished the best bowlers: Junaid and Ajmal, before gleefully lapping up part-time dollies by Younis Khan. His 63-ball half century quickly whittled the lead below 100 odd in a space of an hour, as Waller hit thirteen boundaries in his 62*.

It left the visitors with a disconcerting sight as they looked at Saeed Ajmal’s batting to save humiliation and now had to turn to Younis Khan’s bowling to get a breakthrough against the lowest ranked test team..

After tea Raza opened up too, raining five boundaries in a space of fifteen balls, thrice pulling Junaid Khan to the fence and then punishing Abdur Rehman’s tossed up deliveries. He duly reached his half-century on debut and just as both were looking to build on the momentum, Ajmal yet again enticed Waller to an expansive drive – catching his outside edge to break the 127-run partnership. He soon got Raza too, and followed up with a beautifully disguised doosra to Mutumbami as the hosts’ middle order threatened to undo the good work.

Scorecard: Pakistan 249 (Azhar Ali 78, Misbah 53, Panganyara 3/71, Shingi Masakadza 2/40) vs Zimbabwe 235/6 (74 overs) 

Player(s) of the day: TBD

Disappointment of the day: TBD

Aug 012013
Rohit and Raina steer India to victory

Rohit Sharma and Suresh Raina both recorded unbeaten half-centuries as India eased to a comfortable nine-wicket victory at Bulawayo to go 4-0 up in their one-day international series against Zimbabwe.

Amit Mishra took 3-25 and Mohit Sharma 2-26 on his ODI debut as Zimbabwe were skittled out for 144 and the tourists barely broke sweat as they reached the total with 19.1 overs to spare.

Having won the toss and put the hosts in to bat, India wasted little time in ripping through their opponents’ top order, reducing them to 47 for five in the 16th over.

But Malcolm Waller and Elton Chigumbura offered some resistance by putting on 80 for the sixth wicket before the former was caught behind off Mohit for 35.

Chigumbura proved harder to get rid of for the Indians and he went on to reach his 15th ODI fifty and remained unbeaten, but he was offered little support as the remaining four wickets fell for 17 runs.

India’s response suffered an early setback as Cheteshwar Pujara was bowled for 13 in the 10th over, but Rohit and Raina had few problems as they raced towards the total.

Rohit hit five fours and a six in his 64 while Raina added 65 from 71 balls as India coasted home. They will attempt to complete a series whitewash on Saturday.

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