Williams smashes century as Zimbabwe wrap up series in style
ALL-rounder Sean Williams led the way with a brilliant not-out century as Zimbabwe clinched the four-match one-day series against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) at Harare Sports Club on Sunday.
His partnership of 145, also unbroken, with PJ Moor took the home side to a total of 307 for four wickets, which the tourists were quite unable to challenge, leading to a comfortable Zimbabwe victory by 131 runs.
The home side brought in Ryan Burl and Chris Mpofu for this match in place of Tendai Chatara, who was being rested, and Brandon Mavuta.
On a warm sunny morning and on a pitch with little grass, the UAE won the toss and, after their traumatic experiences in the first two matches batting against Kyle Jarvis and Tendai Chatara in the morning, decided to play safe and put Zimbabwe in to bat.
Solomon Mire and Regis Chakabva as usual opened for Zimbabwe against the bowling of Mohammad Naveed and Qadeer Ahmed.
Chakabva this time managed only a single before he dabbed at a ball from Ahmed that moved away from him and edged a catch to the keeper; two for one in the second over.
Craig Ervine had a bit of luck in scoring his first run, popping up a ball from Naveed just wide of mid-off, that a faster fielder might have made into a catch.
Runs were not easy to collect at this stage against good bowling with a bit of movement, and a slow outfield, but Ervine, when he had six runs to his credit, picked up a ball from Ahmed beautifully over cow corner for six, and now started batting with increasing confidence.
Zahoor Khan came on to bowl and Ervine hit him for two off-side fours in his first over.
The team fifty came up in the 12th over, of which Ervine had scored 36, and before long he had reached his own fifty off 48 balls.
Ervine brought up the team hundred in the 19th over with another six, this one over long-off, from Imran Haider, and Mire also began to show his true batting skills now.
However, when he had scored 40 off 59 balls, Mire attempted a six over the head of the bowler, Zahoor Khan, but miscued the shot, which was well held by mid-on running round; Zimbabwe had lost their second wicket at 106 in the 22nd over.
With Williams in, Ervine almost ran himself out on 62, dashing down the pitch as non-striker for a risky run and being sent back, but the fielders botched the job and he survived.
Perhaps that narrow escape shook him up, as he added only two singles before he played an indeterminate shot against a straight ball from Rohan Mustafa and was bowled; 115 for three in the 25th over.
Williams and Sikandar Raza now had to settle in, but after a few overs they began to play their shots successfully.
Williams on 31 went on a huge swing to leg off Ashfaq Ahmed but sent up a big skyer to mid-off, which the opposing captain quite misjudged and dropped.
Naveed soon made partial amends for his error, though, as he came on to bowl again, and off his first delivery Raza drove a catch to mid-on to be out for 18; 162 for three in the 33rd over.
Moor came in, but Williams went from strength to strength, reaching his fifty off 42 balls with two sixes in an over off Ashfaq Ahmed.
Runs were now coming off almost every ball and the 200 came up in the 40th over.
After 45 overs the score had reached 257, and in the 48th over Williams reached his third ODI century, which came off only 77 balls.
Moor clubbed Zahoor Khan for a mighty blow for six over long-off, and then drove another over long-on to reach his fourth ODI fifty off 49 balls.
It only took him one more legitimate delivery to beat his previous highest score of 52 with another boundary.
The next landmark, in the final over, was the 300 total, and the final score was 307 for four wickets.
Williams was not out with 109 off 84 balls, with seven fours and three sixes, while Moor scored 58 not out off 52 balls, with four fours and two sixes; their partnership had put on 147 for the fifth wicket in 18 overs.
Ashfaq Ahmed and Mustafa opened the batting again for the UAE against the bowling of Kyle Jarvis and Mpofu.
For the third time in succession, Jarvis struck hard and early for Zimbabwe.
Ahmed again did not last long, pushing at a ball to be caught at the wicket for one in Jarvis’ second over.
Two balls later Ghulam Shabber pulled a short ball and was well caught overhead at midwicket, making it two wickets down for nine runs.
Rohan Mustafa, after two failures, decided on a more aggressive policy this time, but it only worked briefly; he had scored nine in rather risky fashion before he pulled a short ball from Mpofu straight into the hands of Jarvis near the fine-leg boundary; 15 for three in the sixth over.
Chundangapoyil Rizwan had a burst of energy against Jarvis, who uncharacteristically lost his accuracy in his fifth and final over, hitting him for two fours and a two off three balls.
Rizwan and Shaiman Anwar fought hard in a losing cause, adding 46 before Donald Tiripano broke through and trapped Anwar lbw for 27; 61 for four in the 20th over.
The wisest course for the UAE to take in this situation was to give up all unrealistic hopes of victory and get some batting practice against the Zimbabwe bowlers, and this appears to be what they did.
Mohammad Usman joined Rizwan and the pair batted well together to add 65 runs, before Rizwan was caught in the covers off the leg-spin of Burl for 47; 126 for five in the 37th over.
Usman just failed to reach his fifty, bowled by a faster ball from Raza at 154 for six in the 41st over.
There seemed to be a suicide pact among the UAE batsmen now, as in quick succession Mohammad Boota (15), Mohammad Naveed (7) and Imran Haider (3) all holed out attempting big shots, and Zahoor Khan tried to do the same thing, only for Jarvis to miss a difficult chance.
But the rather farcical ending continued, the last wicket falling as Khan (9) was stumped while trying to reach a wide from Burl.
Such irresponsible batting gave Burl four easy wickets for 32 runs, while there were two each for Raza and the magnificent Jarvis, two for 20 off seven overs.
Zimbabwe have now won three matches out of three and will be aiming to make it a clean sweep in the series in the final match, to be played at the same venue on Tuesday.
Zimbabwe – 307-4 in 50 overs (Sean Williams 109*, Craig Ervine 64, PJ Moor 58*; Mohammad Naveed 1/42, Qadeer Ahmed 1/57, Zahoor Khan 1/62)
United Arab Emirates – 176 all out in 46.2 overs (Muhammad Usman 49, CP Rizwan 47, Mohammad Boota 15; Ryan Burl 4/32, Kyle Jarvis 2/20, Sikandar Raza 2/44)
Zimbabwe won by 131 runs