Cremer, Utseya guide Zimbabwe to a series win

Posted by admin on January 31, 2009

After a brief scare during the middle overs of Zimbabwe's innings, Prosper Utseya and Forster Mutizwa led Zimbabwe home to a win - and also a series victory - with just under 2 overs to spare. Like in Bangladesh, it was left to the lower middle order to pick up the pieces after the top order batsmen failed to capitalise on starts.

Kenya elected to bat first and things went horribly wrong from the very first ball, with Seren Waters caught behind by Forster Mutizwa off Chris Mpofu's bowling. Zimbabwe again went into the match with a 2-pronged seam attack consisting of Mpofu and Elton Chigumbura.

Spin was brought on early, with Chigumbura being expensive while Mpofu was very economical at the other end.

Kennedy Otieno was the next wicket to fall at 2-49 after the ball ricocheted on to the stumps off the pad, off a Raymond Price delivery. A brief resistance between Alex Obanda and captain Steve Tikolo brought Kenya back into the game but Graeme Cremer made sure the Kenyans came crashing back down to earth with 3 quick wickets; those of Obanda, Tikolo and Jimmy Kamande who fell for a 2 ball duck.

Questionable captaincy decisions saw Hamilton Masakadza and Keith Dabengwa bowl 7 expensive and wicketless overs which contributed to a 79 run partnership between wicket keeper Maurice Ouma and Collins Obuya who struck his second ODI century with 55. But when the recognised bowlers returned to the attack, the Kenyans were again put on the back foot.

Utseya has Ouma caught by Matsikenyeri, while Cremer took his 4th wicket. Cremer ended his 10 overs with his best ODI figures of 4/39, a feat which also brings his ODI economy to a career best 3.96 runs an over.

Price was unusually expensive, but still took 2 wickets for the 41 runs he conceded from 8.3 overs.

In reply, Hamilton Masakadza and Vusi Sibanda got off to a good start making 38 runs before Masakadza was caught. Sibanda soon followed, out lbw in the 11th over. Quick wickets followed, with Stuart Matsikenyeri making just 6 with Malcolm Waller missing out on an opportunity to boost his ODI average with 5.

Keith Dabengwa had another poor showing, scoring just 17 runs from the 50 balls he faced before he fell lbw to Steve Tikolo. Elton Chigumbura played another exciting innings, with 43 from 50 balls until he was out leg before to Jimmy Kamande.

Playing a true captains knock, Prosper Utseya took it upon himself to guide Zimbabwe home. Assisted by Forster Mutizwa whose 38 not out (27 balls) included three 4's and two 6's, Utseya went on to score his maiden ODI half century, bringing up the milestone with a huge 6.

Utseya ended the innings on 68 not out, with Mutizwa hitting the winning runs with a 4.