A seven wicket loss to South Africa at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium yesterday (February 18) afternoon dampened Zimbabwe’s hopes of bringing the ICC U19 Cricket World Cup back home.
Zimbabwe has been lucky with the coin at the ongoing tourney and Lake’s run continued yesterday with the skipper opting to bat first this time. The Zimbabwean batsmen had trouble keeping the bat down and that cost them dearly. Six dismissals came in the form of catches and the fourth one came at the end of the 22nd over with only 52 runs on the board for Zimbabwe.
Luke Jongwe gave Zimbabwe something to celebrate with his 53-ball 55. He came in to bat at number six and he hit three 4s and four 6s putting Zimbabwe back on course to setting a target over two hundred. However it was not to be as he kept losing partners on the other end before he was bowled out with the fourth delivery of the last over. Kieran Geyle and Malcom Lake also played a huge hand in reviving Zimbabwe’s innings scoring 39 and 22 respectively. South Africa’s Justin Dill was in top form, returning figures of 4-35 in 10 overs.
The target was not too high but it was possible to deny South Africa a win. All it takes in a game of cricket is a 10 ball spell of wicket taking deliveries. Unfortunately for Zimbabwe that it not what happened but Herbet Chikomba gave the South Africans a scare when he took two wickets off two consecutive balls. The wickets made way for Yaseen Valli who partnered with opener Aiden Markram to deliver South Africa’s victory.
Markram was unbeaten with a well played 119-ball 120 while Valli – unbeaten as well – managed 53 off 84 balls.
With the loss, Zimbabwe are now out the World Cup race but there is still a plate and national pride to play for. Zimbabwe’s opposition for the Plate quarter-final will be decided today(February-19).