The Zimbabwe U19 Cricket side currently in Bangladesh for the ICC U19 World Cup opened their World Cup campaign with an easy victory over Fiji at MZ Aziz Stadium in the port city of Chittagong on Friday(29 January).
Fiji won the toss and sent out Zimbabwe to field first, a wise choice given that Fiji rank very low behind Zimbabwe who were the favorites to win this match. Having them chase a score rather than set a huge total would not damage Fiji’s run rate badly. The Islanders struggled to get going as opener Jordan Dunham and T. Veitacini attacked the ball with strike rates less than 50%. While Zimbabwe’s bowling attack managed to keep it tight for the Fijian lineup, claiming four ducks, it is worrying to note that they gave away 15 extras – 3 No Balls and 12 Wides.
Lower order batsman Cakacaka Tikoisuva top-scored for Fiji with 19 runs off 39 deliveries. Spinner Wesley Madhevere was on song for Zimbabwe with the ball, claiming 5 Fijian scalps from 9.4 overs, while maintaining an economy of 2.48. Madhevere was also named Man Of The Match. Fiji managed a low total of 81 runs in 27.4 overs.
Going after the chase Zimbabwe lost an early wicket when opener Shaun Snyder tried to hit one past mid-on, resulting in a very low catch that saw him walking back to the hut in the third over. Ryan Murray came on, and Fiji didn’t allow him to settle, sending him back with 8 runs to his name after facing 8 deliveries. Jeremy Ives came in fourth and combined well with Brendan Sly steering Zimbabwe’s ship the right way with a 46-run partnership that edged Zimbabwe closer to victory.
Ives’s wicket fell in the 14th over as he tried to play across a Veitacini delivery and missed. At this stage Zimbabwe were 9 runs away from victory, and it looked like they would close out the game easily, but the Fijians had other plans. It took another 31 deliveries to score the required runs with Sly coming down the wicket to play a beautiful straight drive that went for four to bring Zimbabwe’s score to 84/3. Zimbabwe won by 7 wickets with 31.1 overs to spare.
While Zimbabwe’s technical team headed by coach Stephen Mangongo will be pleased with the victory, they will likely not be too happy about the boys’ execution. Zimbabwe will need to be more clinical in their next matches against West Indies and England who are also competing in Group C.
The ICC U19 World Cup in Bangladesh started on the 27th of January and will run until the 14th of February. Zimbabwe will be hoping to improve on their last performance in 2014 where they placed last. Zimbabwe played two warm-up matches before the tournament got underway, losing one to hosts Bangladesh and winning the other against African neighbours Namibia. The next game for Zimbabwe is on Sunday 31 January against England, who have so far registered wins against Fiji and West Indies in Group C.
To view full scorecard click here.
Zimbabwe – Brandon Mavuta (capt.), Trevvor Chibvongodze, Jeremy Ives, Adam Keefe, Kundai Matigimu, William Mashinge, Wessly Madhevere, Rugare Magarira, Sydney Murombo, Ryan Murray, Richard Ngarava, Akshay Patel, Brendan Sly, Shaun Snyder, Milton Shumba,
Coach – Stephen Mangongo