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Black Caps crush Zimbabwe A in warm up game

by Sports reporter
25 Jul 2016 at 07:10hrs | Views
THE practice match between Zimbabwe A and touring New Zealand at Harare Sports Club ended in a comprehensive 259-run victory for the tourists.

Despite the light-hearted nature of the three-day match the home team never looked like ruffling the feathers of the New Zealanders, who might perhaps have preferred a little sterner resistance to prepare them better for the first Test match against Zimbabwe which starts in Bulawayo on Thursday.

The New Zealanders were 154 for four wickets overnight, leading Zimbabwe A by 385 runs.

It was mere batting practice for the tourists, as captain Kane Williamson, 37 overnight, took his score to 49 before deciding to retire, and Doug Bracewell, four overnight, did the same when he reached 34.

Tatenda Mupunga then took a genuine wicket for his team when he bowled out Tom Boult for two, and at this point Williamson declared the innings closed at 201 for seven wickets.

In theory, this left the home side to make 433 to win in 76 overs.

The tourists began their bowling with Tim Southee and Trent Boult, while the batting was opened by Vusi Sibanda and Nkosana Mpofu.

Mpofu, on his first Zimbabwe A outing, was no doubt facing better bowling than he had ever encountered before and fought hard, but struggled to score six runs before edging a ball from Boult low into the slips, as he had done in the first innings.

By now Sibanda was gaining in confidence and the runs started to flow, but Sikandar Raza struggled at first. At lunch the score was 46 for one, Sibanda on 30 and Raza 10.

Sibanda, as so often, looked capable of a good score but, as so often, gave his wicket away too easily. As in the first innings, he attempted a fatal pull, from the bowling of Neil Wagner, and could only lob a simple catch to mid-on; he made 37.

Raza was next to depart, perhaps unluckily, as Wagner made a ball fly off the pitch and he dropped his wrists, but was still given out caught at the wicket, perhaps off his forearm. He made 11 and the score was 54 for three.

Regis Chakabva, as often happens, was badly bogged down at the start of his innings, but after scoring his first eight runs off 54 balls, he declared to open up against the off-spin of Mark Craig, hitting him for 22 in an over (four fours and a six).

In the following over, by Ish Sodhi against the same batsman, a fierce pull struck the misguidedly placed short-leg fielder on the back on the helmet and he had to be helped from the field.

At the other end Sean Williams was playing a fine innings, and for the first time in the match the New Zealand bowling was challenged.

At tea the score was 135 for three; Williams had 43, Chakabva 38, and, if Zimbabwe A had not seriously considered their chances of saving this match, they could start now.

After the break, though, the batsmen added 10 runs rather sedately until Williams suddenly slashed a ball rather loosely and was caught in the gully for 46.

Tarisai Musakanda quickly followed for one, Joylord Gumbie was adjudged run out without facing a ball, and at 149 for six the New Zealanders seemed on course for victory again.

A few overs later Chakabva, the last major batsman, was trapped lbw by Sodhi for 48 and Zimbabwe A's doom was writ.

It was a strange innings by Chakabva, very much like a sandwich, with a very slow beginning, slow at the end, and that glorious 22-run over in the middle. Overall his innings lasted 125 balls.

The tail, as expected, had little to offer and the match finished just after 3.45pm in a victory for the New Zealanders by 259 runs. There were two wickets each for Southee, Santner, Sodhi and Wagner.

It was a most disappointing display overall by the home team, who have the talent to do much better than this. – The Sports Campus

Source - chronicle