First one-day match, at Harare Sports Club, 6 January 2015
Result: Zimbabwe A (287 for 8) beat Canada (176 for 6) by 111 runs.
Chamunorwa Chibhabha and Tawanda Mupariwa were the leading lights in Zimbabwe A’s comprehensive victory by 111 runs over Canada, in their unofficial One-Day International match at Harare Sports Club today.
Chibhabha hit a superb 155, batting almost throughout Zimbabwe A’s innings, while Mupariwa, with the new ball, shattered Canada’s top order and any hopes they had of reaching their extremely difficult target.
The Canadians, who had had little time to acclimatise to Zimbabwean conditions after days of rain, put Zimbabwe A in to bat on winning the toss.
Cephas Zhuwao, as is his custom, made a brisk start to the innings, scoring 16 out of the first 21 runs in four overs, before edging a cut to be caught in the slips.
After that, it was the Chibhabha Show all the way. He kept the score moving while Ryan Burl struggled to 10 off 36 balls, and with Stuart Matsikenyeri as his new partner he reached his fifty off 69 balls. His century was to take 110 and, speeding up, reached 150 off 141 deliveries.
After passing 50, Chibhabha began to open up and a big straight six off the off-spinner Parth Desai signalled a greater assault on the bowling by both batsmen. Chibhabha’s century was quickly followed by Matsikenyeri’s fifty, which took him 64 balls. Matsikenyeri then miscued a drive to mid-off without addition, thus ending a partnership of 119 runs off 118 balls.
Zimbabwe A were now 193 for three in the 39th over and a total of 300 was a real possibility.
Craig Ervine fell for three, bowled by a fast low full toss, but Timycen Maruma was on the attack from the start. He blazed 35 from 22 balls, including two sixes, in a stand of 63 in 6.5 overs. With three overs to go, it would have been a good time to send in the big-hitting Brian Vitori, but he never made an appearance, even though Zimbabwe A lost three quick wickets in the 280s.
This included Chibhabha, out in the final over to a catch in the deep for a magnificent 155. It took his 146 balls and included 12 fours and five sixes. Throughout, he had shown fine judgment and shot selection – not always characteristics of his innings – and he walked off to a fine ovation.
The final total was 287 for eight wickets, with Canada doing well at the end to take wickets and prevent Zimbabwe A from reaching 300. The opening bowler Cecil Pervez was the best with the ball, conceding only 38 runs off his 10 overs for three wickets, while his opening partner Satsim Dhindsa recovered well from a bad start to take four for 61.
Zimbabwe opened their bowling with Vitori and Tawanda Mupariwa. Vitori was erratic and removed after conceding 15 runs in three overs, but Mupariwa quickly gave Zimbabwe an early breakthrough, having Ruvindu Gunasekera caught in the slips for five. Umar Nawaz skied a catch off him for 10, while Usman Limbada (1) edged a ball to the keeper. At this stage, he had figures of three for four and the total was 23 for three.
Srimantha Wijeratne briefly resisted, making eight before edging an unusual leg-side ball from Mupariwa to the keeper: 34 for four. The seamer’s first spell lasted seven overs for 11 runs and four wickets.
Canada’s only aim now was to hang in there and lose with dignity, trying to gain valuable experience along the way. Navneet Dhaliwal and the captain, Hamza Tariq, provided that resistance and defied the Zimbabwe A bowlers for over after over. They batted in all for 21 overs for a partnership of 56, which ended only when Tariq (30) drove a ball from Chibhabha low to extra cover: 90 for five.
The team hundred came up in the 31st over, as Mupariwa, returning at the other end of the ground, bizarrely bowled a slow high full toss that Dhaliwal hammered over the midwicket boundary for six. He was dropped off a difficult chance from a miscue over extra cover when on 46, but reached a hard-earned fifty off 102 balls. Dhaliwal’s fighting innings saved his team from what might have been serious humiliation.
Having passed the half-century, he now began to open out against Zimbabwe’s second-string spinners Burl and Zhuwao, as Zimbabwe A seemed to lose their intensity instead of displaying a killer instinct. Runs came apace and at the end of 50 overs Canada were able to save face with a total of 176 for six wickets.
Dhaliwal finished unbeaten with 86 – scored off 120 balls and containing five fours and three sixes. Mupariwa returned the best bowling figures of four wickets for 31 runs off his 10 overs, while Utseya at slow medium-pace conceded only 21 runs from his 10 overs.
Despite being totally outclassed on the day, Canada should not be written off. They have come from a cold Canadian winter – at sea level or near it, and the conditions here at altitude in the Zimbabwean summer could not fail to affect their performance. They are likely to get better for the remaining three matches of their tour.
There was a crowd of about three hundred at the match, showing there is interest in cricket matches in Harare even when the national team is not playing.