Zimbabwe players were at their best and at their worst in the final T20 international against Namibia in Windhoek on Monday.

A wonderful bowling performance saw the hosts dismissed for 101, only for the tourists to throw it all away by crashing to 93 all out, handing the home side an eight-run victory and the series by three wins to two.

Zimbabwe decided to bowl on winning the toss, and immediately Richard Ngarava secured an advantage for his team when his third delivery had the dangerous Michael van Lingen caught by Wessly Madhevere without a run on the board.

He followed this up when the score was 21 by having the captain, Gerhard Erasmus, caught for eight.

Nikolaas Davin and Jan Frylinck effected a brief recovery, both scoring 19, before both went out at 46, and then came a longer stand between JJ Smit with 29 and Zane Green with 17.

Again, both were out on the same score, 92 in the 17th over, which was hardly the scoring rate Namibia would have hoped for.

The last few batters tried frantically and unsuccessfully to hit out and build a better score, but Tendai Chatara and Sikandar Raza took advantage by securing three wickets each.

The last six wickets fell in 19 balls for nine runs, and the Namibia innings closed for 101 with eight balls left unbowled.

Zimbabwe’s bowlers had risen to the occasion and now it was the turn of the batters to do so as well and bring their country a convincing victory in this decisive match of the series.

Instead, their opening was a disaster, as Smit, bowling the second over, dismissed Innocent Kaia (1) and Craig Ervine (0) with his first three balls.

Bernard Scholtz next came in by removing Madhevere for four and Raza, the hero of so many bad situations, for four, to leave Zimbabwe reeling at 12 for four in the fifth over.

The opener Nick Welch was still there, and he was joined by Ryan Burl, the last two recognised top-order batters.

After 10 overs they had taken the score to 31 for four wickets.

In the 12th over, though, Welch was the fifth man to go for 23 with the score at 40 for five.

The final blow to Zimbabwe’s hopes appeared to come when Scholtz returned to deliver his final over and bowled out Burl for 19 – 56 for six in the 15th over.

However, Clive Madande and Luke Jongwe renewed hope with a fighting partnership, scoring off almost every ball and after 17 overs they had taken the score to 79 for six – 23 needed off the last three overs.

Four balls and three runs later Madande went for 16, leaving 20 runs needed off 14 balls, and then 17 off the last two overs.

Eight runs were scored off that over, from Smit, but with the last two deliveries Jongwe was run out for a gallant 24, the highest score of the innings, and Ngarava was bowled first ball, leaving Ainsley Ndlovu and Tendai Chatara with the task of scoring nine runs off the final over, bowled by Frylinck.

Ndlovu was caught off the second ball, leaving Zimbabwe with bitter regrets for their dismal failure with the bat and Namibia with the series.  – ZimCricket


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