July 11, 2001

President's XI go down fighting against the West Indians


Zimbabwe President's XI fell to a 214-run defeat against the West Indians at Harare - but they did not go down without a fight.

Paul Strang cracked an unbeaten 81 and with David Mutendra put on 114 for the ninth wicket to frustrate the tourists' bid for victory.

Strang came in with the President's XI on 170-7, chasing a hypothetical target of 521 after the West Indians had declared on their overnight score of 457-5 with Chris Gayle unbeaten on 259.

Strang swiftly lost his partner Colin Delport, caught behind for four off Dinanath Ramnarine to give Ridley Jacobs one of six dismissals in the innings.

But Strang was then joined by Mutendra and the pair refused to go quietly. Strang's 81 came off 89 balls and included 12 fours and a six while Mutendra hit 34 off 59 balls, including four boundaries.

He was eventually bowled by Colin Stuart for 34 and the fast-medium bowler also accounted for last man Douglas Hondo for ten as the President's XI were dismissed for 306 in the 89th over.

Earlier the President's XI had made a poor start in their bid to save the game when they were reduced to 1-1 in the third over, Gavin Rennie being caught behind off Reon King.

However, opener Hamilton Masakadza and Guy Whittall started to repair some of the damage inflicted by that early dismissal.

Whittall, in particular, took the attack to the tourists and was nearing his half-century when the West Indies halted his progress. Neil McGarrell trapped him in front when the right-hander had reached 45 off 79 balls, an innings which included seven boundaries. The pair had put on 72 for the second wicket.

Masakadza (38) was the next to go with the score on 109 in the 33rd over. He advanced down the wicket to Dinanath Ramnarine but was beaten and Jacobs made the stumping.

The afternoon session started well for the home team, with Dirk Viljoen extending his 34 not out at lunch into a half-century. But just as his stand with Sean Ervine (25) seemed to be leading the President's XI to safety, King returned to pluck out Viljoen and skipper Mluleki Nkala in the same over.

Gary Brent could add only nine, and when Stuart ended Ervine's patient knock by inducing an edge to the 'keeper defeat appeared imminent but at least Strang and Mutendra made the tourists work for their victory.

King, Stuart and Ramnarine picked up three wickets apiece for the West Indians.