Zim out of 2006 ICC CT

The round, comprising the four lowest-placed sides on the LG ICC One-Day International (ODI) table as of the 1st of April 2006, saw Bangladesh, the West Indies, Sri Lanka and Zimbabwe play against each other in a round-robin for two places in the second stage. And so while West Indies are the holders, they found themselves having to play in the qualifiers because they were in the bottom four.

Zimbabwe started their campaign poorly, after winning the toss and deciding to bat in their first match against the West Indies, at the Sardar Patel Gujarati Stadium in Ahmedabad.

With reliable openers Terrence Duffin out with a viral infection and Vusumuzi Sibanda unable to leave club commitments in Australia in time, the Zimbabwe replacement pair of Chamunorwa Chibhabha and Tafadzwa Mufambisi was out of its depth.

As if that was not bad enough, Zimbabwe went on to lose wickets at regular intervals until they were bundled out for 85 runs in 30,1 overs by a West Indian attack that saw Chris Gayle finish with figures of 3-3 in 3,1 overs.

The defending champions proceeded to make light work of their chase. Chris Gayle put up a rapid 41 runs from 34 balls before he was caught by Tafadzwa Kamungozi off Elton Chigumbura, fellow opener Shivnarine Chanderpaul added 14 not out and captain Brian Lara an unbeaten 24 that included two boundaries and ended with two consecutive sixes off his Zimbabwe counterpart Prosper Utseya.

The nine-wicket loss was followed by another to Sri Lanka, at the same venue on Tuesday.

This time Utseya lost the toss and Mahela Jayawardene opted to bat.

Opening batsman Upul Tharanga, riding on a century from their opening win against Bangladesh in Mohali, continued on the bullish route- piling up 110 off 130 balls, 13 of them boundaries and one six. It was his sixth ODI career century.

The 21-year old southpaw was ably supported by Kumar Sangakkar who put up 80 runs before he was caught by Stuart Matsikenyeri from the bowling of Chamunorwa Chibhabha.

To its credit, the Zimbabwe attack kept applying pressure with teenage bowler Kamungozi picking up two wickets for 55 runs in 10 overs as Sri Lanka finished their 50 overs with 285 runs for seven wickets.

Chasing, their batsmen again came short. As in their first match, Zimbabwe lost group wickets upfront, although this time Hamilton Masakadza (30) and Brendan Taylor (30) made their experience count by putting up a 63-run partnership for the fourth wicket.

Lasith Malinga, who was the pick of the Sri Lanka bowlers with three for 25 in 9,3 overs, made sure it would not be enough as Zimbabwe were dismissed for 141 runs in 42,3 overs.

The West Indies and Sri Lanka proceed to join Australia, England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, South Africa while Zimbabwe, who were scheduled to play Bangladesh in their third and final match in Jaipur on Friday return home tomorrow.

“We have taken the positives from our matches in India and will use them as the basis for preparations for our forthcoming tour to Bangladesh, as we continue to give our talented but inexperienced side more exposure in the build-up to the ICC Cricket World Cup in the Caribbean next year,” said Zimbabwe coach Kevin Curran.

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