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Mnangagwa salutes heroic Zimbabwe Chevrons

by Staff reporter
22 Oct 2022 at 00:39hrs | Views
PRESIDENT Mnangagwa yesterday saluted the Zimbabwe national cricket team after the Chevrons wrote a new piece of history in Australia by qualifying to the prestigious Super 12 of the ICC Men's T20 World Cup for the first time.

The Chevrons, as the team is affectionately known, beat Scotland by five wickets to seal the historic feat yesterday.

This is the first time the team has managed to pull through from the group games and the performances did not escape the attention of Zimbabweans at home and abroad, including President Mnangagwa, who used his Twitter to express his admiration.

"Congratulations to the Chevrons on making it into the Super 12 stage of the T20 World Cup! Thank you for raising the Zimbabwean flag high!" said President Mnangagwa.

Team captain Craig Ervine was also thrilled by Zimbabwe's spirited performances at the tournament.

The victory torched wild scenes of celebrations at the Bellerive Oval in Hobart, Australia, and the sound reverberated back home in Zimbabwe — some 10 000km away — as cricket fans, who followed the game on television and other social media platforms, could not contain their joy following this historic feat.  

Zimbabwe have been to five T20 World Cups previously and often found the competition tough.

Their target this time was qualifying to the Super 12 stage and they did it in style after progressing as winners of a tough Group B, which also had two-time World champions West Indies, Ireland and Scotland.

This is the first time the team has made it through to the next stage of the T20 World Cup, thanks to the new brand of positive cricket under their new coach, Dave Houghton.

"I don't think there is any word that could explain what it means," said Ervine.

"I think you know that we have had the whole country behind us over the last week and I think the cricket that we have played leading up to this tournament has been special. So it's well-deserved for the boys, after putting in huge efforts over this week to get through," said Ervine.

Zimbabwe were joined by Ireland to the Super 12 from Group B. Former champions Sri Lanka and Netherlands qualified from Group A.

But it was a big day for Zimbabwe who were returning to the ICC T20 World Cup after a six-year absence.

The Chevrons will be in Group 2 of the Super 12 where they face Bangladesh, India, Netherlands, Pakistan and neighbours South Africa.

Ireland, who brewed a shocker by eliminating two-time champions West Indies, courtesy of a deserved nine-wicket victory earlier in the day, proceed to Group One and will meet defending champions Australia, Afghanistan, England, Ireland, New Zealand and Sri Lanka.

Zimbabwe national team captain, Ervine, yesterday said he was aware of the task ahead of them, beginning with a game against neighbours South Africa tomorrow.

He said the Chevrons are looking to cause more upsets in the group despite some difficult games ahead of them against some of the world's cricket giants.

The team has been in good form of late and have won eight of their last ten T20I cricket matches.

Ervine and Man of the Match Sikandar Raza yesterday helped Zimbabwe overcome a shaky start with the bat after they had restricted Scotland to a below-par total of 132 runs for the loss of six wickets in their 20 overs.

The Chevrons lost vice-captain Regis Chakabva and Wessly Madhevere for just seven runs.

Experienced all-rounder Sean Williams soon followed after he had managed to make only seven runs and Zimbabwe looked in some kind of trouble.

They needed a robust partnership in the middle overs to lift them and Ervine and Raza provided that.

Skipper Ervine, who missed the previous game against the West Indies due to a mild asthma attack, returned to lead the team from the front with a high score of 58 runs.

The two put together 64 runs for the fourth wicket but it was Raza who swung the pendulum in favour of Zimbabwe with a blistering knock of 40 runs from 23 balls.

Raza, who also took 1-20 with the ball, was voted Man of the Match for his efforts. By the time Raza left the crease, his partnership with Ervine had brought down the required run rate significantly from seven-plus to just over five runs an over.

In fact, Zimbabwe needed 27 runs from 30 balls and despite losing Ervine, Ryan Burl (9) and Milton Shumba (11) still saw the Chevrons over the line, with nine balls remaining.

Earlier on, Scotland had won the toss and batted first in a match played under a cloud, with chances of a downpour having been forecast.

But the Scots struggled to 132/6 in their 20 overs. George Munsey (51 from 54 balls) provided a commendable resistance but Zimbabwe still managed to squeeze the life out of their opponents.  

Seamer Tendai Chatara led the Zimbabwean bowling attack with a superb spell of 2-14. Richard Ngarava also had two wickets while Blessing Muzarabani and Raza had one each.

"First of all credit to Scotland. Secondly, in my heart, once we bowled well I felt that one of us would get the job done and again it was my turn. But Craig played really well and the two youngsters (Burl and Shumba) finished really well in the end, as well.

"There were good cameos in the middle but it's quite satisfying; it's quite humbling. I think it's quite emotional as well. There was a target we set and to Alhamdulillah (praise be to God) we achieved one of them. It's pretty pleasing," said Raza.

Source - The Herald