World Cup

Zimbabwe escapes an Arabian nightmare

Middle-order batsman Sean Williams saved Zimbabwe the blushes by hitting the last three balls for boundaries with 12 balls and 4 wickets to spare in pursuit of UAE's 285.

Middle-order batsman Sean Williams saved Zimbabwe the blushes by hitting the last three balls for boundaries with 12 balls and 4 wickets to spare in pursuit of UAE's 285.  

Williams and Ervine come good as UAE loses the plot midway after piling up a competitive total

Sean Williams ensured Zimbabwe would not become the first top tier side to lose to United Arab Emirates when his counter-attacking half-century secured a four-wicket victory in their World Cup clash here on Thursday.

Sean Williams (76 not out) and Craig Ervine (42) were required to rescue their side with an 83-run partnership after UAE’s bowlers had reduced it to 167 for five in the 33rd over in the Pool B clash at Saxton Oval.

The left-handed pair had already settled any nerves by the time 29-year old Ervine was caught and bowled by Krishna Chandran with just 36 runs from seven overs required.

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura came in to see his side safely to the target of 286 with two overs to spare.

UAE, making its first World Cup appearance since 1996, posted a competitive 285 for seven and then took wickets at crucial moments with wicketkeeper Brendan Taylor’s dismissal in the 28th over looking almost fatal at the time.

Taylor was well set and looking to up his scoring rate when he attempted to sweep a full delivery from Nasir Aziz and was struck low on his front pad. He was given out for 47 but reviewed the decision only for technology to show the ball would have hit the middle stump.

With its tail up, UAE looked on course to record its first win over a Test nation in its 20th official one-day international until Williams and Ervine intervened.

The victory ended Zimbabwe’s losing streak of seven matches stretching back to its three-wicket win over Australia in Harare last August.

UAE’s innings had been well constructed with all but two of its batsmen getting past 20 and Shaiman Anwar stroking his highest score in one-day international cricket.

Anwar scored 67 and was ably supported in an 82-run partnership by wicketkeeper Swapnil Patil (32), while Khurram Khan (45) and Krishna Chandran (34) also produced an 82-run third-wicket partnership.

Mohammad Naveed (23) and Amjad Javed (25) combined for a quick-fire unbroken stand of 53 at the end of the innings to drive the UAE to its highest score in a one-dayer. Tendai Chatara was the chief wicket-taker for Zimbabwe with three for 42.

“We need to take this momentum into the game against the West Indies,” said Chigumbura, whose side face the men from the Caribbean in Canberra on Tuesday.

“Hopefully we can polish up our fielding and have a good game in all departments.”

“I thought the guys played well with the bat. The good thing about our team is we have eight batters so there was no pressure,” the skipper said. “Getting over the line was the most important thing to do and we did it.

“We played some good cricket but we were expecting a different result. In the previous game on this wicket we saw that 300 was not enough (when West Indies lost to Ireland),” said UAE captain Mohammad Tauqir.

“We know our limitations and we scored 285. But they batted well, struck up some good partnerships and they won the game.”

Man-of-the-match Sean Williams said “a lot of people would have thought Zimbabwe should have walked over UAE but that clearly wasn't the case.”

“We didn't know what to expect from them and they put up a really good performance with the bat and our fielding wasn't that great.”

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Printable version | Jul 9, 2020 3:09:59 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/cricket/world-cup/zimbabwe-scrapes-through-by-4-wickets-against-uae/article6911978.ece

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