July 11, 2000

Zimbabwe convincing in victory

Guy Whittall
Guy Whittall
Photo © CricInfo

Deserve place in Final

Canterbury: Zimbabwe (256 for four) beat West Indies (186 for eight)

Zimbabwe, playing close to their true form, completed a highly convincing 70-run victory over a lethargic-looking West Indian team. Both teams are coming to the end of a long, intense season for them. Zimbabwe are for the first time since their World Cup victory over South Africa playing to their real potential, while West Indies are looking like a burnt-out shell of a team, in batting, bowling and fielding.

NatWest Series

Three batsmen scored fifties for Zimbabwe, Whittall taking the Man of the Match award, while all their bowlers did a useful job without anybody being outstanding. It was a fine team effort, streets ahead of their illustrious opponents in all departments of the game. They are virtually guaranteed a place in the final now, with this their third victory in a row, batting remarkable circumstances, which would have to include another no-result match between England and West Indies. They deserve it; all their victories have been thoroughly convincing. It remains to be seen, though, whether their nerve will hold in the final.

Batsmen refuse to self-destruct
But they lose just the same

A brief shower of rain stopped play in the 32nd over, causing a 20-minute delay, but Zimbabwe were so far ahead on the Duckworth-Lewis system that this was of small concern to them. There was a useful stand, with the pressure now off, between Jacobs (37) and McLean until the latter tried to hit Grant Flower across the line and was out lbw; 157 for eight.

With the batsmen refusing to self-destruct, the match was a long time a-dying, as Zimbabwe did not have the firepower to overwhelm the tailenders. McLean went on to record a fifty in the final over, and no doubt had some words to say to his seniors in the batting order after the match - but they might well claim that they could have bowled much better than he did, given the chance. He finished on 50 not out, and Dillon on 6. Sadly, it was a rather disappointing match for Canterbury, with the weather poor and the ground well under half full by the close.