Wellington Masakadza ended with superb figures of 4 for 28, as Zimbabwe defended 148 against Scotland, in the Group B encounter at Jamtha, Nagpur on Thursday. In spite of Sean Williams’ half-century, Zimbabwe only managed to get as far as 147 for 7 in the 20 overs, after winning the toss, and deciding to bat first. In reply, their bowlers restricted Scotland to 42 for 5 by the eighth over. However, Richie Berrington, skipper Preston Mommsen and Josh Davey kept the fight alive for Scotland. In the end though, Zimbabwe’s persistence paid off, as they registered a 11-run triumph.
Berrington and Mommsen added a precious 51 for the sixth wicket, and with the run rate not much of a concern, the chase was very much on. After the partnership was broken, Davey slammed 24 from merely 13 balls, as Scotland went into the last three overs needing a very gettable 30 runs. But, Tinashe Panyangara bowled a fruitful penultimate over. The first four balls of the over went boundary-less, and Davey was left with no option, but to go for a wild slog off the next. He only succeeding in giving a skier to long-on. 19 off the final over was too much for Scotland.
The chase began in eventful fashion for Scotland as George Munsey attempted four consecutive reverse sweeps, and got two right. But, Wellington had his revenge in the same over as Munsey danced down the track, and was beaten all ends up, only to be stumped. Tendai Chatara then sent back Matthew Cross first ball, with one that cut back in, which the batsman could only edge. The fours and wicket syndrome continued in Wellington’s next over. This time, Matt Machan swept and lofted him on either side of the boundary, only to be caught next ball, as he dragged one to mid-on.
All this while, Kyle Coetzer was watching the drama from the other end. But, he soon became part of the story as he checked a drive and lobbed Chatara to short cover, where Sikandar Raza sprung to his right, and plucked a one-handed catch. 20 for 4 was soon turned to 42 for 5 as Michael Leask jumped down the pitch against Williams, only to be stranded and stumped. Berrington kept the fight alive, thumping Williams for a six down the ground. A couple more fours came in an over from Raza. But, Wellington sent back Mommsen and Safyaan Sharif in the same over as Scotland were put on the backfoot.
Zimbabwe’s batting was again disappointing, as Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda fell cheaply. Richmond Mutumbami looked good for a while, but after launching a six off Leask, he holed out to long-off. Williams, however, brought his experience into play and found the much-needed boundaries. He reached his fifty by helping Davey through backward square leg. Williams, however, holed out to Sharif in the same area, when on 53. Elton Chigumbura hit a breezy 20 before falling off the last ball. As it turned out, Zimbabwe had enough.
--By A Cricket Correspondent