HARARE – Brian Bennett, Zimbabwe’s brightest cricketing prospect at the moment, top-scored with 65 as a largely developmental Chevrons side opened its African Games account with a 35-run win over Namibia in host city Accra on Sunday.

Zimbabwe were under heavy pressure to win against a Namibian team that has lately become a bogey side of them. Last November, Namibia was one of the upcoming African teams that prevented Zimbabwe from qualifying for this year’s T20 World Cup in the Americas.

Extra pressure is also coming in the form of Zimbabwe’s women side, which last week clinched the historic gold medal at the on-going 13th African Games in the Ghanaian capital.

The men’s side showed intent on Sunday by posting 167-6 in their allotted 20 overs, the 20-year-old right-hander Bennett looking solid and playing a collection of clinical shots before he was run-out towards the end of the Zimbabwe innings.

Bennett was ably supported by another promising player, Johnathan Campbell, who scored 39 runs. Opener Rodney Mufudza (32) and skipper Clive Madande (28 not-out) were the other notable scorers.

Zimbabwe’s bowlers then did a decent job of restricting Namibia to 162-8 with spinner Owen Muzondo and pacer Tashinga Musekiwa each taking three wickets.

Cricket is making its debut at the African Games and Zimbabwe, traditionally one of the continent’s best in the sport, will be out to make a huge impression even with their developmental team.

The Zimbabweans should expect stiff competition from Africa’s top cricketing nation, South Africa, who are always the team to beat in any competition on the continent regardless of the type of team they decide to field on any given day.

On Sunday against hosts Ghana, all eleven players in the South African team were making their T20I debut, a world record for a country not playing in its first match in this format.


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