(Ashes blog tomorrow, finding it hard to suppress the rage)
Interesting line-up changes let me hope for a victory at first:
|Lovely kit, lovely playa, lovely smile, P Utseya!|
Dabengwa, Meth and Elton out! Elton due to injury but I didn't believe that. In came Graeme Cremer and both Masakadzas. Yippieh! Prosper took the reigns in hand and decided to field.
The plan went well, they've had them by the collar, 71-4 with both seamers (Shingi and Mpofu) taking one and Prosper two. But! When Tatenda Taibu missed out on a stumping chance in Cremy's first over I immediately knew this mistake would cost them dearly. And Mushfiqur, the unstumped one, didn't plan to fail twice and went on to build the matchwinning partnership with Shakib at the other end.
With a target of 247 and 10 overs of Razzak (unplayable, four wickets at 1.40/ov), Shuvo, Shafiul (four wickets) and Mashrafe each the pressure must have been mounting on the Zim batters and one by one they chucked their wickets away. Out of the nos. 1-6 only Taylor made it into double figures. Ahem. Does 15 already count as a double figure?
When the good Prosper came in he desperately tried to save the match and backed up his excellent four wickets with a captain's knock of 67, Cremer (24), Price and Shingi trying to hang around for as long as possible to help him through, but the game had been lost long ago.
It is hopeless sometimes, really. Just when you think yeah that's the dream line-up such an accident happens. I don't know what to say about that. I still see massive potential in this batting order. Taylor, Ham, Taibu, Ervine, Chakabva... not to mention Utseya. I frickn know they can do it. Guys please time to take heart and pull the pants up, two more matches - two more chances! Although I think the match was lost on the bowling front actually, the inability to break the Mushi/Shakib partnership early lead to the inevitable.
Can't wait to see how ODI bullies like Oz and SAF deal with Razzak. I'm even a tiny wee hopeful that he can annoy India a little. So there is a tiny bit of a preemptive gloat in all this. But the Zimbies are currently twisting the knife in my heart!