Zimbabwe bowling fightback snatches victory from Afghanistan to keep series alive

Zimbabwe snapped their losing streak in dramatic fashion with a dramatic finish to the third one day international at Harare Sports Club.

PIC: zimcricket.org

With their backs against the wall, 2-0 down, Zimbabwe needed a performance from their struggling batting lineup and it failed to materialise.

Solomon Mire and Peter Moor made just 9 runs before the former was removed. After that, bar Tarisai Musakanda(60) and Malcolm Waller (36) the batting was a disaster. Four got out for a duck and all in all 8 failed to reach double figures.

When the hosts were finally bundled out for a miserable 129, it looked bleak.

The headlines were already being written about how the struggling test side was bowled out before lunch against an associate side.

Seven balls into the innings the prodigious Richard Ngarava again took the first wicket removing Noor Ali Zadrini. The dangerous Mohammad Shahzad was on the front foot after that but he was out next for 20 to Tendai Chatara. At lunch with the score 63/3 needing 67 to win it looked like a matter of time.

It was soon 76-4 when Asghar Stanikzai was out to Chatara caught by wicket keeper Moor for 31.

Still the small crowd in attendance was quiet, expecting another loss.

And then with the score on 121-5 Sean Williams caught and bowled Gulbadin Naib. Said the bowler:

I walked up to [captain Graeme] Cremer and told him a wicket or two and we can win this.

Two overs later Chris Mpofu it looked a disaster when the Indian Premier League bound Mohammad Nabi sent him over for a six. The next was a single and then…

Next ball Samiullah Shenwari edged one to Moor. Next ball Najibullah Zadran top-edged and Moor collected again

Nabi was out next over to Williams before Mpofu dismissed Rashid Khan.

Then Williams returned. There was one ball in it. A six would win it for Afghanistan. A wicket would take it for Zimbabwe.

The first ball went for two after a misfield fro Cremer. Said Williams:

I knew I would take him [Amir Hamza] because I had hit him on the pads a few times in the previous over [I bowled].

Williams tossed on, Hamza went after it, top-edged it to Ngarava at point.

Zimbabwe set the record for the lowest score they defended beating the 134 against England at the 1992 World Cup.

In the end it was the pressure that told.

Batting coach Lance Klusener said there would be no defending the batsmen and work would be done on Thursday to make sure they were better prepared for Friday’s fight.

Chatara and Williams were players of the match, jointly.