Zimbabwe continued to impress in this World Cup and in their second match of the tournament, the batting also came good to set up a massive 175-run win at against minnows Canada at the VCA Stadium in Nagpur yesterday.
Despite losing a wicket off Brendan Taylor in the very first ball off the match having lost the toss, Zimbabwe thanks to a 181-run partnership for the 3rd wicket between former Captain Tatenda Taibu (98 from 99 balls with 9 fours) and left handed Craig Ervine (85 from 81 balls with 6 fours and 2 sixes) recovered along to post a total of 298 for 9.
The Zimbabwean innings had its shaky times first with the new ball by swing bowler Khurram Chohan who took two wickets at the start. In the latter half of the innings, Zimbabwe lost wickets in a bunch to former India Under 19 and former Tamil Nadu Ranji player – WD Balaji Rao. The 32-year-old leg spinner Balaji Rao unleashed a few wickets taking deliveries which were mixed with some ordinary full tosses and short balls to finish with 4 for 57 in his 10 overs.
Canada chasing the huge target were let down by the experienced opener John Davison, a former Australian first class cricketer who smashed West Indies for a blistering century during the 2003 World Cup. The 40-year-old Davison who is the oldest player in this World Cup had charged down the track to the first ball he was facing against left arm spinner Ray Price but only to get beaten by the turn and get stumped for a duck! Davison’s opening partner was a contrast, a 16-year-old boy with Indian origin by the name Nitish Kumar who created the record of being the youngest ever player to participate in the World Cup. Nitish could only score 1 in 10 balls before giving a return catch to Price who in the very next ball removed the Canadian Skipper Ashish Bagai.
The Canadians from 7 for 3 in the 6th over were strangled by the heavily packed spin attack from the Zimbabweans which had enough variety – off spinners, leg spinner and a left arm spinner! Canada lasted 42.1 overs before getting bowled out for 123. Leg Spinner Graeme Cremer picked up three wickets while off spinners Prosper Utseya and Graeme Lamb got two wickets each. Ray Price continues to be one of the best bowlers in this tournament and this time his figures were 8-4-16-3. The man who rescued Zimbabwe early on with a responsible knock of 98 – Tatenda Taibu effected two stumpings as well to get the Man of the Match award.