Ervine’s record knock propels Zimbabwe Select to series victory

Zimbabwe Select – 385-7 in 50 overs (Craig Ervine 195, Innocent Kaia 92, Ryan Burl 31; Mohammad Ali 2/32, Qasim Akram 2/60, Aamer Jamal 2/89)

Pakistan Shaheens – 353 all out in 49.2 overs (Mubasir Khan 115, Rohail Nazir 87, Kamran Ghulam 56; Sikandar Raza 3/66, Luke Jongwe 2/54, Blessing Muzarabani 2/55)


Zimbabwe Select won by 32 runs 


The greatest feature of a day when 738 runs were scored was a magnificent innings of 195 by Craig Ervine, which set a new national record and propelled the Zimbabwe Select to a 32-run victory over the Pakistan Shaheens in the sixth and final one-day match at Harare Sports Club on Saturday.

The tourists won the toss and followed their usual policy by putting the home side in to bat.

The Zimbabweans had an unfortunate start when Joylord Gumbie, a hero of the fourth match, was this time round out to the second ball of the innings, very well caught high at first slip by Kamran Ghulam off the bowling of Mohammad Ali without a run on the board.

This brought in Ervine to join Innocent Kaia at the wicket, and a wonderful treat for the supporters followed.

They were soon well into their stride, plundering the bowling with their attacking batsmanship, although enjoying a couple of narrow escapes along the way.

Kaia was the first of the two to go on full attack, and at one time his score was well ahead of Ervine’s, but the latter soon began to catch up.

They put on 187 runs for the second wicket in 27 overs, a rate of almost seven an over, before Kaia unfortunately missed a century and was out for 92, scored off 79 balls with three sixes and 10 fours.

He stepped down the pitch to the pace of Ali, and the result was a miscued pull that was caught at midwicket.

Ervine however went from strength to strength, and reached a fine century off only 89 balls.

He enjoyed brief but brisk partnerships with Sikandar Raza, Sean Williams and Wessly Madhevere, who scored 15, 20 and eight respectively while the total soared beyond 300.

Ervine raced past 150 in the company of Ryan Burl, and so well did he bat that it was now a clear possibility that he might achieve the rare feat of scoring a double-century in a one-day match.

With two overs to go he was on 175, and in the next over, from Shahnawaz Dahani, he scored 19 runs, including two sixes and a four, to take his score to 194.

At this point he was equal with the record individual score in any List A match by a Zimbabwean, scored by Charles Coventry in an official ODI against Bangladesh at Queens Sports Club in Bulawayo in 2009.

When he got strike in the final over, bowled by Aamer Jamal, he managed only a single instead of the six he needed, and in trying to give him the stroke Burl was caught for 31, scored off only 18 balls.

Then, trying to regain strike, Ervine attempted a single from a wide, but the wicket-keeper’s throw beat him, and he was run out for his wonderful innings of 195.

He returned to the pavilion to a standing ovation, having faced only 148 balls and hit six sixes and 22 fours in creating a new Zimbabwean record.

The innings finally closed at 385 for seven wickets, the best of the bowlers being Ali, who took two for 32 in seven overs before breaking down with an injury.

This gave the Pakistanis an almost impossible target to reach at a rate of nearly eight an over.

They generally rely on their top three batters to give them a big total, but within 10 overs all three had gone.

Imran Butt was out for six and Omair Yousuf for four, both caught off Blessing Muzarabani, and with the score at 50 Haseebullah Khan, who had been batting well, fell to Tanaka Chivanga for 35 off 36 balls.

There was nothing left now but for the tourists to compile whatever runs they could and lose with dignity – or so one might have thought.

However, the real fighting spirit of the Shaheens now came to the fore, and they fought tooth and nail for a highly improbable victory right to the end.

The middle order, who had not been too prominent during the tour before now, rose to the occasion magnificently.

Rohail Nazir and Kamran Ghulam played fine attacking cricket and put on 108 runs for the fourth wicket in less than 17 overs.

After Ghulam went for 56, Mubasir Khan joined Nazir and they added another 98 runs in 12 overs, the score being 256 in the 39th over for only four wickets when Nazir went for 87 – but the required run rate was still over 11 an over at this stage.

Although his partners came and went, Mubasir never gave up, flogging the bowling superbly and reaching a brilliant century.

When the eighth wicket went down at 308, 78 were still needed in the last six overs, but Mubasir could not do it all himself.

He was finally the last man out, caught by Sikandar Raza off the second ball of the final over, bowled by Luke Jongwe, having scored 117 off 77 balls with eight sixes and six fours, a heroic effort.

The total was a remarkable 353, scored under tremendous pressure, giving the Zimbabweans victory by 32 runs and enabling the Shaheens to lose with honour.

Raza was the most successful bowler with three wickets for 66, while Muzarabani with two for 55 off his 10 overs was the most economical.

The Zimbabwe Select team therefore won the six-match series with four victories against two defeats.