Zimbabwe struggle against New Zealand in ICC KnockOut quarter-final
Zimbabwe left themselves a steep hill to climb in the last 25 overs of their ICC KnockOut quarter-final against New Zealand on Monday after reaching 108 for four at the halfway stage of their innings.
Set to make 266 to book a semi-final berth against Pakistan, Zimbabwe were rocked by three quick wickets after a healthy second-wicket stand looked likely to build a solid platform for the run chase to come.
There was an early success for New Zealand when Geoff Allott accounted for Craig Wishart in the fifth over of the innings. Wishart seemed caught in two minds between trying to pull a short one or force it away through the off. In the end, he managed only to lift it to Roger Twose at mid-off to be out for 5 with Zimbabwe on 24 for one.
Stuart Carlisle led something of a charmed life as he helped Alistair Campbell add 64 for the second wicket, twice being put down by Shayne O' Connor. On 9 Carlisle sliced Allott down to third man where the ball went straight in and out of O'Connor's hands. O'Connor then dropped Carlisle, on 15, off his own bowling, a sharp return chance to O'Connor's left hand.
Campbell, meanwhile, had played with confidence, striking the ball cleanly from the moment he tucked Allott away to the midwicket boundary in the first over of the innings.
At the end of the first 15 overs Campbell and Carlisle were still together at 61 for one and New Zealand captain Stephen Fleming began to ring the changes. Chris Cairns was given an over from the City end before Chris Harris was brought on to bowl his leg-rollers.
And it was Harris who made the breakthrough, winning an LBW decision off umpire Steve Bucknor against Campbell. It was a decision with which Campbell clearly disagreed. He stood at the wicket for an age, staring meaningfully at his front leg and then the stumps before departing.
Campbell's 47 had come off 68 balls and his dismissal left Zimbabwe at 88 for two at the end of the 20th over.
He was quickly followed by Andy Flower as Zimbabwe's premier batsman pushed a low return catch back to Paul Wiseman for 1 off four balls. New Zealand had started to perk up with Zimbabwe at 91 for three.
And they gained further success when Grant Flower dragged Wiseman onto his stumps trying to reverse sweep the off-spinner. Flower made 5, and the fall of his wicket left Zimbabwe on 108 for four at the end of the 25th over.