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Zimbabwean Career

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  • Zimbabwean Career

    Hello and welcome to the first installment of my new Zimbabwean career which will begin in the aftermath of the teams failure to qualify the world cup and which will hopefully involve the team rising up the rankings.
    Initial Rankings Test: 10th, 5 points, ODI: 10th, 9 points, T20I, 11th, 2 points.

    The first test that the team faced was a challenging one, a t20 tri-series at home involving Australia and Pakistan. Bearing this in mind I selected a relatively experienced squad interspersed with some young and talented players and led by the veteran batsman Brendan Taylor. The batting looks reasonably strong on paper but the lack of bowling is a serious worry. To combat this several spinning all-rounders were selected. The only uncapped player in the squad was the promising young legspinner Brandon Mavuta.

    Squad for home tri-series: Brendan Taylor (C/WK), Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Ryan Burl, Malcolm Waller, Chamu Chibhaba, Peter Moor (WK), Sean Williams, Sikandar Raza, Graeme Cremer, Donald Tiripano, Brandon Mavuta, Tendai Chatara, Wellington Masakadza.

    1st game v Pakistan: The pitch for this game was extremely flat and the outfield was reasonably quick. We went in with 2 spinners (Mavuta and Cremer), 2 pacers (Chatara and Tiripano), and 2 batting all-rounders (Williams and Raza).
    Lineup: H Masakadza, S Mire, B Taylor (C), S Raza, R Burl, S Williams, P Moor (WK), D Tiripano, G Cremer, B Mavuta, T Chatara.

    After losing the toss we were put into bat and made a paltry score of 7/108. After being reduced to 3/5 we struggled immensely before Ryan Burl (29) and Tiripano (18*) gave us some semblance of respectability. Unsurprisingly Pakistan chased down this small total with ease winning by 6 wickets as Zaman made 65*. Williams (4-0-3-27) and Tiripano (4-0-0-13) were the best bowlers. This match was a disappointing if expected beginning.

    2nd game v Australia.
    Our next test was a rampant Australian side who were fresh from an 87 run annihilation of Pakistan. As the pitch offered significant spin we made one change with Wellington Masakadza coming in for Tendai Chatara. We lost the toss and were told to field and responded by bowling reasonably well until the last few overs. At one stage Australia were 5/72 (11) but they recovered to make 6/164 after some slogging by Stoinis and Agar. Sean Williams (2/27) and Wellington Masakadza (2/18) were the best of the bowlers while Graeme Cremer (3/42) picked up wickets but was expensive. Our openers Masakadza (58) and Mire (59) began magnificently putting on 117 for the first wicket in just under 12 overs before being dismissed in the same over. This barely slowed us down however as Taylor (23*) and Raza (28*) easily took us home with 3 overs and 8 wickets to spare. This was an excellent victory set up by our strong and experienced top order.

    3rd game v Pakistan: we went into this game with hopes of victory after our comprehensive defeat of Australia. On a turning pitch we went in with an unchanged side and once again lost the toss and were instructed to bowl. Pakistan began quickly but some good bowling by the frontline spinners (12-0-4-92) helped to keep Pakistan to a par score of 7/167. The openers once again began well before being tied down by the spinners who choked us through the middle overs. Despite some late hitting from Peter Moor (25* off 10) and Sean Williams ( 21 off 9) we eventually ended up 10 runs short at 7/157. Still, this was a reasonably good performance against a strong side.

    4th game v Australia: After Pakistan defeated Australia in the other match this game became an effective semi-final. We made 2 changes bringing in Chatara and Waller for Mavuta (1 wicket at 88) and the slightly unlucky Burl. We won the toss and elected to bowl. This strategy failed as Australia made 7/200. Raza (2/23 off 3) and the recalled Chatara (3/34 off 4) were the best of the bowlers. In response we batted well but eventually fell short as several batsmen got starts but only Brendan Taylor (61 off 39) played a substantial innings. We were finally dismissed in the last over for 172.

    This concluded the tri-series where despite finishing last we played quite well and also gained a ranking point due to our victory over Australia. Our next challenge was an even tougher one, a 5 match ODI series at home against Pakistan.

    Squad for ODIs: Brendan Taylor (C), Hamilton Masakadza, Solomon Mire, Craig Ervine, Gary Chirimuuta, Tinashe Kamunhukamwe, Peter Moor, Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams, Graeme Cremer, Nathan Waller, Brandon Mavuta, Tendai Chatara, Blessing Muzarabani, Wellington Masakadza.
    Compared to the T20I squad this was a relatively inexperienced team with 3 uncapped players selected (Chirimuuta, Kanunhukamwe, Waller). These 3 came in for Ryan Burl, Malcolm Waller, and Donald Tiripano. In addition Muzarabani replaced Chamu Chibhaba to add some extra bowling depth.

    1st ODI: H Masakadza, S Mire, C Ervine, S Raza, B Taylor (c/wk), G Chirimuuta (debut), S Williams, N Waller (debut), G Cremer, T Chatara, B Muzarabani.
    On a flat pitch we opted to play an extra allrounder which meant that Nathan Waller made his debut ahead of Wellington Masakadza. Middle order batsman Chirimuuta (list a average of 37) also came in for his first game.
    Sent in to bowl we struggled to contain the Pakistani batsmen as a Fakhar Zaman century led them to 6/296. Muzarabani (3/52) showed his potential while allrounder Williams (2/43) bowled tidily continuing his good form from the t20 series. In response we batted well but ultimately fell short of a daunting total being dismissed for 271 in the 48th over. Raza (72 off 67) and Masakadza (49 off 60) led the way.

    2nd ODI. On a more bowling friendly pitch Moor came in for Chirimuuta (who made an ugly duck in the first ODI) and took the gloves from Taylor. Losing the toss for the 5th time in 6 matches we were sent in to bat. In response we made a below par 9/220 which could have been far lower if not for Sean Williams who hit a superb unbeaten 90 off 88 balls to help us partially recover from 6/102. Pakistan easily chased down this total as our lack of bowling penetration was exposed. Another rapid century from Zaman didn't help matters as Pakistan cruised home by 7 wickets.

    3rd ODI. With the series on the line we made several changes. Tinashe Kamunhukamwe and Brandon Mavuta both made their debuts at the expense of Mire and Nathan Waller slotting in at numbers 1 and 9 respectively. Electing to bowl first we performed extremely well as Pakistan were restricted to 9/227. After the fall of a few early wickets Williams (3/38 off 10) and debutant Mavuta (1/30 off 10) strangled Pakistan throughout the middle overs to restrict them to a below par score. Our fielding was also excellent as for the first time in 6 matches we didn't drop a catch. Considering our batting I rated us as a 50/50 chance at this stage. And after a decent batting performance we finally had a win as led by Ervine (77 off 83) and Raza (80 off 109) we got home by 4 wickets and kept the series alive with Moor (19* off 32) hitting the winning runs in the 49th over. This was an excellent performance which showed us that provided that we weren't forced to attack from the beginning we could perform well against stronger sides.

    4th ODI: After an excellent victory we went in unchanged on a spinning track and once again opted to bowl first. Unlike the previous game we were unable to contain Pakistan as despite a superb spell from young Mavuta (1/26 off 10) Shoaib Malik made a rapid 130 to take Pakistan to 6/302. Once again we batted well but our effort was crippled as Hamilton Masakadza (65) ran out Sikandar Raza (4) and then Craig Ervine (46). Some late hitting from Mavuta (55* off 45) highlighted his potential as an allrounder. Mavuta was the last man standing as we were eventually bowled out for 279 in the last over as Muzarabani sought to send one into orbit. With this loss the series slipped away and only a single dead rubber ODI remained.

    5th ODI: On a seaming pitch we made 2 changes with Mire recalled at the expense of K'Kamwe (9 runs in 2 innings) and Wellington Masakadza coming in for the expensive Graeme Cremer. These changes meant that Mavuta moved to number 8 in order to give him further batting opportunities. Under cloudy skies we elected to bowl yet again in the hopes that our seamers could do some early damage. This did not prove to be the case as our bowling once again struggled. Zaman (125) and Malik (94) continued to dominate our bowling as Pakistan reached an imposing total of 4/301. Williams (1/31 off 8), Chatara (2/46 off 8) and Hamilton Masakadza (1/27 off 5) were the wicket takers. In chase of an improbable target we batted superbly to fall agonizingly short and at one stage we were 4/187 off 31 overs. However the dismissals of Williams (56) and Ervine(55) damaged our hopes. Mavuta was the last man out for 31 as we eventually folded for 289.

    With this loss Pakistan took the series 4-1. Despite the lopsided scoreline I was happy with how we had batted if admittedly concerned about our lack of bowling penetration. The emergence of Mavuta (86 runs at 86, 2 wickets at 51, econ 3.40) was a major positive as were the runs scored by WIlliams (205 runs at 51.25, 7 wickets at 25.43), Raza ( 201 runs at 40.2, 3 wickets at 41), Ervine (206 runs at 41.2) and Masakadza (179 runs at 35.8, 1 wicket at 27). The main issue was with the bowling as the pace attack was mostly ineffective (10 wickets at 52, econ of 5.8) and Cremer (3 wickets at 63.3, econ of 6.9) endured a terrible series. Overall it wasn't an awful performance but there was significant room available for improvement.

    Our next series was yet another daunting one, an away ODI and T20I series against South Africa which I will cover in the next installment of this career/story.

  • #2
    Part 2, Away series against South Africa.

    Squad for away ODIs against South Africa: H Masakadza, C Ervine, P Masvaure,B Taylor, R Burl, T Musakanda, G Chirimuuta, P Moor, S Raza, S Williams, N Waller, W Masakadza, B Mavuta, D Tiripano, T Chatara.
    This series was off to a bad start before it began with a number of injuries to key players. Solomon Mire and Sean Williams were both unavailable for the first 1-2 ODIs but Williams was still included in the squad while Graeme Cremer who would have been dropped anyway after his terrible series against Pakistan sustained a serious injury in the domestic league. As a result Prince Masvaure, Ryan Burl, Tarisai Musakanda, and Donald Tiripano all came in in place of Mire, K'kamwe, Cremer, and the out of form Muzarabani.

    Tour Match v Port Elizabeth
    Our first test was a practice match against Port Elizabeth. As a result of the changes to our squad we took this game seriously and went in with a full strength side. We bowled poorly conceding 6/283 against domestic opposition. Tiripano 4/83 picked up wickets but went for far too many runs. Without Williams the attack also looked like it was a bowler short. In response we struggled to keep up with the required run rate and despite a century from Ervine and 71 from Taylor we were dismissed for 259. Thus the tour began with a disappointing loss with our bowling attack once again under the spotlight.

    1st ODI vs South Africa: H Masakadza, P Masvaure (debut), S Raza, C Ervine, B Taylor, S Williams, R Burl, N Waller , D Tiripano, B Mavuta, T Chatara.
    On a dead pitch we decided to play an extra all-rounder (Waller) who in addition to the recovered Williams would hopefully strengthen our bowling attack. Masvaure who hit 44 in the tour match also made his ODI debut. Sent in to bat we played well to reach 7/288. On debut Masvaure played superbly making 122(141) and anchoring the innings. Late cameos from Williams and Burl (combined 57 off 38) raised us to an above par score. Our bowling effort began well with Tiripano (3/64) striking twice in the powerplay before Mavuta (3/44) picked up crucial wickets in the middle overs. At one stage South Africa were 8/246 and when De Kock was dismissed for 117 a victory looked likely. However an unbeaten partnership of 43 between Parnell and Philander ultimately guided South Africa home. Still, this was quite a good performance and if our bowling could improve even a bit a victory seemed completely possible.

    2nd ODI: On another flat pitch we made a single change bringing in the economical Wellington Masakadza for the ineffective Nathan Waller (23 overs, 0/147 over 3 ODIs). Losing the toss yet again we were told to field. Tiripano and Chatara began well and after 10 overs South Africa were 2/39. This continued throughout the middle overs as Masakadza (1/29 off 10) and Williams (1/32 off 7) bowled tightly. We unravelled at the death however as South Africa eventually reached a par score of 6/270. Despite a decent batting effort this turned into another heartbreaking 3 run loss. Masvaure (75 off 110) and Ervine (77 off 63 including 4 huge sixes) batted excellently and even after their dismissals we reached 5/237 after 45 overs. Needing 34 off 30 our lower order crumbled under pressure as Tendai Chatara was dismissed off the final ball by Chris Morris (6/57) to leave us one shot short. This showed us that due to our tight if non-threatening bowling fielding first was definitely our best option against most opposing sides.

    I will add some images from now on as they can exp
    3rd ODI:
    With the series lost we maintained the same XI but shuffled the batting order so that Ryan Burl could face more balls (he had batted the first 2 ODIs at 7). Bowling first we were utterly ineffective as South Africa hit 3/297. Only Masakadza (0/34 off 10) bowled economically. Losing wickets consistently we were never really in the hunt and were dismissed for 172. Ervine (39) was the only batsman to get past 30.
    This meant that we lost the series 3-0. Despite strong performances in the first 2 ODIs which we lost by 2 wickets and 3 runs respectively we capitulated in the big moments and ultimately fell short. Masvaure (206 runs at 68.67) was the star of the series for us.

    T20I series v South Africa.
    We now entered the short form section of the tour and were hopeful of winning at least 1 game due to our strong batting form.
    Squad: S Mire, H Masakadza, B Taylor (c), M Waller, C Ervine, R Burl, C Zhuwao, P Moor, S Raza, S Williams, D Tiripano, T Chatara, W Masakadza, K Jarvis, T Mufudza.
    The squad was similar to the one from the tri-series with Tapiwa Mufudza, an offspinner with an excellent domestic record coming in for the injured Cremer and Chibhaba being replaced by the overly aggressive Cephas Zhuwao. An out of form Mavuta was also replaced by the returning county star Kyle Jarvis.

    1st T20I: H Masakadza, S Mire, C Zhuwao, C Ervine, B Taylor(wk), M Waller, S Williams, D Tiripano, T Mufudza, W Masakadza, K Jarvis. On a road of a pitch we were sent in to bat and reached a slightly below par score of 8/162 courtesy of an excellent 58* from Waller and 33 from Ervine. When South Africa were tottering at 3/32 we appeared to have a chance of victory but a huge partnership between Miller and Du Plessis quickly ended those dreams.

    2nd T20I: We made 1 change bringing in Chatara for Mufudza who had been dispatched to all corners in the first game. This changed achieved little as although Chatara dismissed the dangerous Miller for 56(32) South Africa still managed to reach 4/191. We didn't get close during the chase and were dismissed for just 108 with 5 batsmen scoring ducks. Brendan Taylor (39) and Malcolm Waller (34) played well in a partnership but collapses on either side of their knocks meant that our performance with the bat was utterly dismal.

    3rd T20I: Mufudza and Burl came into the side in the place of W Masakadza and Zhuwao in the hopes that they would gain experience during yet another dead rubber. Bowling first we fielded with Discipline to keep South Africa to a below par 7/155. Tiripano (4/31) was the pick of the bowlers. In response a rapid 50 from Masakadza and 24* from Tiripano dragged us across the line despite some shaky moments! Thus we ended our tour with an excellent victory.

    And so ended the South African tour. Despite some promising performances we were blanked in the ODIs and only managed a consolation victory in the T20Is. Still ,the side appeared to be improving and the next challenge was a full tour of Bangladesh which we went into with guarded optimism.


    • #3
      Big and brave challenge. From what I've seen on CC Muzarbani, Magarira and Mavuta are very good in game.

      As for batting it will be very tough and hopefully some nice regens come through!
      Last edited by bryce87; 01-13-2019, 07:34 PM.