By Sports Reporter
ZIMBABWE produced a dominant performance with both ball and bat to cruise to a crushing seven wicket victory over visiting United Arab Emirates (UAE) in the first One Day International (ODI) at Harare Sports Club Wednesday.
Led by three wickets from man of the match Tendai Chatara, Zimbabwe bowled out UAE for 110 from 44.5 overs, before in-form batsman Craig Ervine top scored with a brilliant 51 off 46 balls to steer the hosts to their target in 23.1 overs.
Zimbabwe captain Peter Moor won the toss and put UAE into bat, and the decision yielded immediate results as the hosts, who are missing the services of skipper Hamilton Masakadza and senior batsman Brendan Taylor took control of the contest from the get-go.
Kyle Jarvis removed Ashfaq Ahmed with the first ball of the third over, and after 10 overs, UAE were perilously positioned on 19 for three.
Chatara (3-25) and Kyle Jarvis (2-11) did most of the damage with the new ball in friendly conditions, and the tourists were unable to recover, as they crawled to 110 all out in 44.5 overs.
The duo of Donald Tiripano and leg spinner Brendon Mavuta also claimed two wickets apiece while Sean Williams was the only bowler not to have a wicket to his name; his three overs only conceded three runs in total.
After opener Solomon Mire managed just 11 runs, Zimbabwe’s innings was guided by the second-wicket partnership between wicketkeeper batsman Regis Chakabva and Craig Ervine.
The pair made sure the absence of the injured duo of Masakadza and Taylor was not felt, as they put on 90, before Chakabva was bowled by Imran Haider.
Ervine – whose innings comprised of four fours and two sixes – passed fifty, but like Chakabva was unable to stick around for the winning moment, offering a catch to Muhammad Usman off the bowling of Mustafa to depart for 51.
It was a minor blip in the tale as Timycen Maruma hit the winning runs just two balls later to hand Zimbabwe the opening game of the four-match series.
Ervine, who has been in brilliant from in domestic cricket said he was delighted to carry on with his form to international.
“Getting runs in domestic cricket obviously helps and it was very important for me to carry that form into this series. Unfortunately getting out towards the end is a bit disappointing but starting the way I did trying to be nice and positive from the start even though we are chasing a low total,” Ervine said.
The second ODI will take place at Harare Sports Club with Zimbabwe hoping to continue their winning run as they look to avenge for last year’s shock defeat against UAE during the ICC World Cup qualifiers.