'The umpire couldn't see the ball' - Chigumbura

Zimbabwe captain Elton Chigumbura highlighted the difficulties of playing in fading light and praised Pakistan's ability to fight back even after a poor start

Wahab Riaz is run-out after a splendid effort from Elton Chigumbura, Zimbabwe v Pakistan, 2nd ODI, Harare, October 3, 2015

Elton Chigumbura ran Wahab Riaz out to rally Zimbabwe  •  Associated Press

A match that held most people at the Harare Sports Club on edge came to an end as a result of bad light, and Zimbabwe beat Pakistan to level the series by a narrow margin of five runs.
"The umpire couldn't see the ball, so he was telling the Pakistan batsmen that 'we're going off'," Elton Chigumbura said. Pakistan needed 21 off 12 at that point, but Zimbabwe were eventually ruled winners after Duckworth-Lewis calculations. "In the game of cricket, you can't relax until the very last ball. But there were a few chances that we didn't take when we were fielding, and that's why they ended up getting so close.
"They showed some good fight, and they didn't give up even when they'd lost six wickets early, which is cricket, and which is what you want from your team: to not give up. After the good start we had with the ball, they were under pressure. We just had to maintain that."
Chigumbura took a wicket in his third over today to snap a 111-run stand between Shoaib Malik and Aamer Yamin that had threatened to take the game away from Zimbabwe. He hadn't bowled a ball in an international match for almost seven months but may well have ended up bowling the final over had the match gone the distance.
But Chigumbura probably wouldn't have bowled at all had legspinner Graeme Cremer not injured his ankle earlier in the afternoon. Cremer had taken a wicket with his second ball, aided by a diving catch by John Nyumbu at slip, and had found both turn and bounce off the pitch.
"Definitely, that pitch would have assisted Cremer big time," Chigumbura said. "They had confidence that we were a bowler short, and [Sikandar] Raza couldn't bowl as well because he'd been off the field for an hour or more. So we just had to make use of the guys who were available to bowl. That's why it was almost like a blessing in disguise that I ended up bowling as well and getting that wicket. We went back on top again after that."
Chigumbura had Yamin caught behind for 62 and then ran Wahab Riaz out to rally his side. "Obviously I should be bowling more," he said. "It gives me confidence, what I was able to do today. I haven't been bowling in matches for a long time, though I have been practicing my bowling and working on it. I guess today was just the right time to get the ball and have a bowl. Luckily enough, I managed to get a wicket. But we knew that we just had to take the chance that would be coming, because [Yamin] gave a couple of half chances."
Though it came in controversial circumstances, coach Dav Whatmore insisted Zimbabwe's victory was a "fantastic effort".
"When it all clicks, it's great," Whatmore said. "Before the game started we had a lot negativity towards us, and in some ways it was justified, in other ways I'm not sure. But to turn it around in the way we did with the bat in that first half was just a fantastic effort given the situation that the boys were in at the start of the day. Losing the toss, being asked to bat, and to perform like that and get the score that we did was really heartening.
"Raza and Elton capitalised on the hard work that was done at the top of the order. You can just see [Brian Chari's] confidence slowly increasing. He's going to be playing some good innings in the future if he continues to learn like he has done. And Tino [Mutombodzi's] run out was fantastic, almost a game changer, the way he dived and stopped it to get [Mohammad] Hafeez. Pure skill. Elton had a decent one too. A lot of good things. It was unfortunate that the game finished in the way it did, but there were a lot of good things and positives today."

Liam Brickhill is a freelance journalist based in Cape Town