Zim public hails team’s series win

Zimbabwe won the first, third and fourth One-Day International (ODI) matches against the visiting Tigers at Harare Sports Club, to win the five-match series 3-2.

It was Zimbabwe’s first series victory since the 2-1 home win over Bangladesh during the March-April tour of 2004. It was also a personal milestone for 21-year old Prosper Utseya, who became the first Zimbabwe captain to win a series since Heath Streak in 2004.

“Our team has always been competitive without always getting the results. This win is therefore a big boost,” said Sarudzai Chiremba, a secretary with a Harare manufacturing concern.

Matthew Moyo, a 23-year old University of Zimbabwe student was philosophical: “Winning is a habit and after such a long time without a win the fear was that our team had been socialised into defeat. This win breaks the chain and allays our concerns. Hopefully it is victory from now on!”

Zimbabwe won the toss for the first ODI and elected to bowl, winning the match by two wickets. The visitors lost the toss again for the second one and were again sent in but this time they rallied back to take the match by 62 runs. The Zimbabwe skipper continued with his grip on the coin and won the toss for the third ODI. Again he chose to bowl. Zimbabwe went on to produce a performance for the archives: getting the 17 runs needed from the last over to win the match by two wickets and, with that victory, reclaim the series lead.

For the first time in the tour, Bangladesh won the toss in the fourth ODI but, as they had always been made to do by Zimbabwe, chose to bat.

Zimbabwe won the match by seven wickets, giving themselves an unassailable 3-1 lead and thus the series win.

“The series win was important for the team in two aspects. One:

for their self-confidence ahead of the Champions Trophy and also in the build-up to the resumption of Test cricket next year and two: to silence the critics because since the last series win in 2004 everything about Zimbabwe cricket on the international scene has been negative,” said award-winning cricket reporter Lawrence Moyo of The Herald newspaper, adding: “Beating a Bangladesh side that last year beat world champions Australia in an ODI is strong enough a statement that the game is alive and well in Zimbabwe.”

The Tigers did salvage some pride last Sunday when they won the fifth and final ODI by eight wickets.

Bangladesh is now in Kenya for three ODIs at the Gymkhana Grounds in the capital, Nairobi. The first match was scheduled for yesterday, with the second today and the third on Tuesday.

In the absence of regular captain Habibul Bashar, who did not join the squad to Nairobi but returned home from Harare on Sunday with a broken thumb, wicket-keeper Khaled Mashud will again lead the Bangladesh side.

While the hosts are bubbling on the back of a two-nil win over Canada, the Tigers’ coach, Davenell Whatmore, will be looking for victory in the three-match series so that they can end their African tour on a high note.

August 2006
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