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September 13, 2007
Zimbabwe's fielding was one of the highlights in their stunning win over Australia and they were at it again today. One moment that emphasised their commitment and energy came from Vusi Sibanda on the deep cover boundary. Kevin Pietersen creamed a drive off Tatenda Taibu and for all the world it appeared to be racing to the boundary. But Sibanda never gave up the chase and flung himself at full stretch to pull off a terrific save.
It's a tricky game for the captain as he tries to decide where to put his fielders, especially when the boundaries are flying. Prosper Utseya has shown he isn't afraid to try a few things and when Keith Dabengwa came on with his left-arm spin, from over the wicket, there was the unusual sight of four men in the deep on the leg side. There was a long-on, two deep midwickets and a deep square leg. Still Kevin Pietersen managed to fine space on the leg side, sweeping past the man at short fine leg for four. Utseya probably wished he had more fielders.
Left or right handed?
Pieteren had clearly had enough off Dabengwa's left-arm darts towards leg stump, so he decided to hit to where there were no fielders. He switched his grip around and swung a low full toss high over point with the same sort of reverse hit that stunned Muttiah Muralitharan at Edgbaston in 2006. But he wasn't finished with one. The next two deliveries were also reverse-clubbed through the off side even after Utseya changed the field. Then he went back to the more conventional and launched another six over midwicket. The over cost 22.
Broad nearly caught out
Normally in Twenty20s, the incoming batsman runs onto the field from the dug-out, but England's late wickets fell in such a rapid cluster that Stuart Broad, down at No. 10, had a rush to get padded up. He came sprinting down the dressing room steps still trying to adjust his helmet and pads.
Anything Pietersen does...
Brendan Taylor continued where he left off against Australia and after Pietersen had peppered the short boundary towards the brewery, Taylor showed he could follow suit. In James Anderson's first over, the second of the innings, he stepped away and gave himself room to go high and handsome over the off side. The next ball also whistled to the boundary and for a while England knew how Australia felt last night.
Schofield's seven-year itch
The last time Chris Schofield bowled in an England shirt his performance consisted of a series of long-hops and full tosses, also against Zimbabwe, at Trent Bridge in 2000. Seven years later, and after falling out of first-class cricket for two years, he finally gained his first international wicket when Stuart Matsikenyeri was held on the deep cover boundary by his former Lancashire team-mate Andrew Flintoff. Then, like London buses, another came along straight away as Chamu Chibhabha chipped a return catch. No one could begrudge him his celebration.
What's wrong with their cricket? Well, what isn't?