Zimbabwe defeat UAE again to complete series clean sweep
A blazing innings of 35 off 22 balls by Timycen Maruma rescued Zimbabwe from a middle-order collapse and enabled them to win the final one-day international against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) by three wickets and complete a clean sweep of the series at Harare Sports Club on Tuesday.
Rain forced an adjustment of Zimbabwe’s original target of 176 for victory to 129 off 30 overs, but, whether through complacency or carelessness, they lost three middle-order wickets in four balls before Maruma’s spectacular effort put them back on course for victory.
Zimbabwe made two changes to their team for this match, with Tendai Chatara returning and Brian Chari playing his first match of the series, in place of Donald Tiripano and Solomon Mire.
On an overcast morning, the UAE won the toss and surprisingly decided to bat first. Chirag Suri and Ashfaq Ahmed opened the batting for the visitors against the bowling of Kyle Jarvis and Chatara.
Jarvis did not look as lethal as in previous matches, and for the first time in the series the tourists’ opening partnership reached double figures. Eleven was as far as it went, though, as on that score Ahmed (8) tried to cut a ball from Chatara only to edge it straight to Craig Ervine at first slip.
After scoring an unbeaten century in the warm-up match, Ahmed has had an unhappy series, scoring only 19 runs in the four matches. As usual, Jarvis was rested after bowling five overs, but for the first time in the series he failed to take a wicket, though only conceding 11 runs.
Suri and Ghulam Shabber now settled down to solid work in building a good total safely. They made steady progress, putting on 42 together, but just as they looked to have the measure of the bowling the stand was broken.
Sean Williams came on to bowl, and Shabber (18) tried a big leg-hit, only to be bowled with the score 53 for two.
Suri became more confident, gliding a ball from Chris Mpofu through the vacant slip position for four and then hitting the next for a big six over long-off. With two spinners on, Sikandar Raza replacing Mpofu, Zimbabwe tightened their control and Suri with his new partner, Chundangapoyil Rizwan, found runs harder to get.
Suri lost patience, tried to work a straight ball from Williams away on the leg side, and was out lbw for an admirable innings of 46; 91 for three in the 25th over. CShaiman Anwar scored only two runs before he was run out by a direct hit from Chari at mid-on, backing up too eagerly and unable to get back in time.
At 96 for four in the 28th over, the UAE innings seemed to be at a crossroads.
The hundred came up in the following over, and Rizwan and Muhammad Usman concentrated on working the ball around the field for singles.
Jarvis returned for a second spell, but Usman pulled one of his deliveries powerfully over square leg for six.
But the Zimbabwe attack was too accurate and persistent to allow many big shots to be played with safely, and Usman, on 27, was another batsman to fall through trying to hit straight balls to leg — lbw to Williams for 27, making the score 136 for five in the 36th over.
Rohan Mustafa, who had opened in previous matches, now came in, but it didn’t do his form any good, as he tried to pull a ball from Jarvis, but hit it straight to PJ Moor at mid-on, who did well to dive low and hold it just off the ground.
Mustafa scored one, while the next man Imran Haider fell first ball, edging to the keeper and leaving the UAE reeling now at 140 for seven after 37 overs.
Sultan Ahmed came in and batted enterprisingly with Rizwan, and after 40 overs the score had reached 151 for seven.
At 160 in the 44th over, though, Ahmed swished at a ball from Mpofu to be caught at the wicket for 11.
Mohammad Naveed made only two off nine balls before he tried to break free with a big hit off Mpofu, but he only skyed the ball to long leg; 167 for nine in the 46th over.
The innings came to an end for 175, when Rizwan nudged a ball from Mpofu to third man and called for a risky second run to keep the strike. Raza, however, fielded the ball finely and scored a direct hit on the stumps with Rizwan, who had made a very good 45, just out of his ground.
Jarvis, Mpofu and Williams all took two wickets.
Jarvis finished the series with 10 wickets for only 76 runs.
Regis Chakabva as usual in this series opened the Zimbabwe batting, with Chari as his new partner, while Naveed and the left-arm spinner Sultan Ahmed opened the bowling.
The two batsmen did not begin very convincingly, but they found their skill and confidence, and in the seventh over Chakabva hit Naveed for a four and a six off successive balls.
This took the score to 37 without loss in the seventh over (Chakabva 22, Chari 15), but now a light drizzle began to fall and the umpires took the players off the field. About an hour and a half’s play was lost, meaning that the match would have to be settled by what is known as the dreaded Duckworth-Lewis method.
Zimbabwe’s target was thus revised to 128 in 30 overs.
Chari was out soon after the resumption, slashing so hard at a ball from Naveed that it flew to the fielder near the third-man boundary for quite a comfortable catch. He had scored 19 and the score was 44 for one after nine overs.
At 49 Chakabva followed him back to the pavilion, clean bowled by a superb yorker from Naveed, for 28.
The two left-handers, Ervine and Williams, were now in together.
Williams was as pugnacious as ever, but Ervine was never fluent, and after scoring 11 off 27 balls he drove at a delivery from Zahoor Khan and edged it to the keeper; 79 for three after 17 overs.
This was the start of what in other circumstances would have been a disastrous middle-order collapse by Zimbabwe, and in fading light.
Off the next delivery, from Mustafa at the other end, Williams (20) moved too far across his stumps and was amazed to have his leg stump knocked out.
Two balls later, with the score still 79, Moor was bowled middle stump by Mustafa; three wickets in four balls and the UAE were jubilant.
Maruma was almost caught without scoring, as he skyed an attempted drive off Khan and mid-off running back just failed to hold what would have been a brilliant catch.Maruma, deprived of batting opportunities low in the order during this series, went all out for attack, taking risks, but getting a couple of fours and a six off successive balls from Mustafa, and then being dropped again off a hard hit to mid-off.
Haider replaced Khan, and Maruma’s rampage continued, as he swept a four and hit a huge six over the Chairman’s Enclosure.
Anwar came on to bowl and did the trick for the UAE, bowling Maruma, who tried to repeat his six and was comprehensively bowled.
He scored 35 off 22 balls with two sixes and three fours, and the score was 118 for six in the 23rd over.
Unaccountably Burl (1) ran himself out at 120, pushing a ball from Anwar into the covers and starting off for a highly unlikely run. The tail was now at the crease with Raza still there, and eight runs still needed for victory.
Jarvis relieved the pressure by edging his first ball for four past slip, and then a leg-side single brought Raza to face.
He hammered the next ball over mid-on for four and Zimbabwe were home with three wickets to spare.
Raza finished with nine and Jarvis with five.
Of the bowlers Naveed and Mustafa took two wickets each. This is the fifth clean sweep Zimbabwe have accomplished in a bilateral ODI series.
The first and best was against England in 1996/97, and they also achieved this against Bangladesh twice in the early 2000s and against Kenya in 2008.