Zimbabwe's astonishing victory in magnificent match
Murray Goodwin: century wins match for Zimbabwe - and England
Photo © CricInfo
Riverside, close of play: West Indies (287/5 off 50 overs) lost to Zimbabwe (290/4 off 49.2 overs) by six wickets
Will the real Zimbabwe cricket team please stand up? Well, it just did. Zimbabwe won an astonishing six-wicket victory over the West Indies in a magnificent match at the Riverside ground today. There were centuries from Sherwin Campbell for the losers and Murray Goodwin for the winners, scored under great pressure by a batsman who is about to declare his international career closed at the age of 27.
West Indies, winning the toss on an excellent batting pitch, totalled 287 for five wickets, including a brilliant 86 by Brian Lara, setting Zimbabwe what seemed an impossible target. But Goodwin and Grant Flower, who hit the winning boundary and finished with 96 not out, put on an unbeaten 186, the highest for Zimbabwe in any one-day international, to take their team through to a victory few envisaged.
England now in Final
As far as the tournament goes, West Indies have now been eliminated, and the last two matches, where England will play Zimbabwe and then West Indies, will not affect the final, to be played between England and Zimbabwe at Lord's next Saturday.
Goodwin's great innings
in last week of his career with Zimbabwe
Goodwin and Grant Flower batted superbly in what was really an almost hopeless cause, scoring off most deliveries and running well between wickets. 90 runs were needed off the last 10 overs, and the century partnership came up. 14 runs came off the 42nd over, bowled by McLean, including Flower's fifty; his innings almost came to an end at that point, as he was caught at long-on off Adams, but the fielder stepped over the rope as he caught it.
Goodwin's century was next, coming off 130 balls, and a superb effort played under such pressure. 40 runs were needed off the final four overs, but so well did they bat that 15 were needed off the last two and four off the last, as Adams desperately tried to find a bowler able to get a grip on the batting. King was entrusted with the last over, with West Indies suddenly aware that for the first time in the match they were facing probable defeat. It took Zimbabwe only one no-ball and a legitimate ball for Grant Flower, 96 not out, to bring his country one of its greatest victories with a lofted off-drive to the boundary.
Two with best temperament
Together at crucial time
The fifth-wicket partnership between Goodwin, the Man of the Match, and Flower of 186 is the highest for any wicket in one-day internationals for Zimbabwe. These batsmen have two of the best temperaments of a notoriously fragile team and this was their finest hour. Perhaps it may rub off on some of their teammates and signal a genuine bright new dawn for Zimbabwean cricket. It is all the more poignant that Goodwin has elected not to be part of it. At the end of his career he will ask himself privately just how good he could have become, what he could have achieved - and he will never know.