Madhevere fifty in vain as Namibia clinch thriller to level series again
Zimbabwe – 157-8 in 20 overs (Wessly Madhevere 50, Richmond Mutumbami 7, Craig Ervine 22; Bernard Scholtz 3/25, Pikky Ya France 1/17, David Wiese 1/33)
Namibia – 161-4 in 20 overs (Gerhard Erasmus 59*, Michael van Lingen 51, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton 19; Luke Jongwe 2/35, Sikandar Raza 1/20, Tendai Chatara 1/24)
Namibia won by six wickets
Another superb fifty from Wessly Madhevere had Zimbabwe poised for a match-winning score in the fourth T20I against Namibia at Queens Sports Club on Sunday, but his brilliance was let down by a middle-order collapse that eventually led to a thrilling last-ball climax before the tourists won the game by six wickets.
Namibia won the toss but this time decided to field.
Madhevere was again at the top of his form, terrorising the Namibian bowlers and hitting three successive fours off Ruben Trumpelmann in the third over of the innings.
Innocent Kaia supported him with seven of an opening partnership of 32 in less than four overs, but was then out lbw to Bernard Scholtz.
Craig Ervine, the captain, showed signs of his best form as he and Madhevere put on 50 in six overs for the second wicket, before Ervine was caught off Pikky Ya France for 22 off 17 balls.
The score was now 82 for two in the 10th over and Zimbabwe appeared to be in a strong position.
Unfortunately, there followed a batting collapse.
With only one run added, Madhevere, having scored 50 off only 32 balls with a six and five fours, was run out by Namibia captain Gerhard Erasmus, a brilliant innings.
Then in quick succession Zimbabwe lost the wickets of Regis Chakabva, stumped for four off Scholtz, who then had Tony Munyonga caught for six, while Sikandar Raza, after starting well, was caught off Jan Frylinck for 15.
Disaster now threatened with six wickets down for 114 in the 17th over, but fortunately at this critical stage Richmond Mutumbami and Luke Jongwe came to the rescue.
They hit out gallantly and so effectively that they added 38 crucial runs for the seventh wicket in 3.3 overs, taking the score past 150.
In the final over when they had to hit at everything, Mutumbami lofted a catch off David Wiese after scoring 27 off 21 balls, and Jongwe was run out off the final ball of the innings in the scramble for another run, after making 19 off only 10 balls.
Thanks to these two, the innings had been revived to 157 for eight wickets, not as good as Zimbabwe had hoped for when Madhevere was batting, but certainly one they could defend.
Scholtz had done most of the damage with the ball, taking three wickets for 25 in his four overs, while Ben Shikongo was the most economical, taking no wicket but yielding only 16 runs in his three overs.
Namibia however came out of their corner swinging furiously, although taking a few heavy punches in return.
Fourteen runs came in the first over, with Michael van Lingen, in his first match of the series, taking two fours off Victor Nyauchi.
Tendai Chatara then got in a serious blow when he removed Craig Williams lbw for one.
The next man, Jan Nicol Loftie-Eaton, scored 19 off 14 balls before he was caught by Mutumbami off Jongwe for 19, the score then being 47 for two in the sixth over.
Then came the major partnership of the innings, as Erasmus joined van Lingen and the pair added 77 in partnership in less than 10 overs.
The situation was looking desperate for Zimbabwe when van Lingen, with 51 to his credit off 48 balls (a six and five fours) was caught by Kaia off Raza to make the score 124 for three in the 16th over.
It was anybody’s game now, but Namibia had wickets in hand and 29 were needed from the last four overs.
The 17th over, bowled by Jongwe, cost seven runs, but Wiese fell to a catch by Nyauchi for six, and then Chatara bowled superbly to concede only four singles – 18 needed off the final two overs.
Unfortunately, the match was won and lost in the 19th over, as the batters scored 13 runs off Jongwe, including two fours to Erasmus.
It was a massive ask for Chatara to prevent five runs coming from the last over, but it took until the final delivery, when Erasmus, after a magnificent innings, got him away for four to take Namibia home and leave the series poised at two victories per side.
Erasmus finished unbeaten with his match-winning 59, having faced 43 balls and hit a six and four fours.
Chatara finished with figures of one for 24 in his four overs, while Jongwe took two wickets, but with 35 runs conceded was much more expensive.
Raza was the most economical bowler, with one wicket for 20 in his four overs.
The final match to decide the series will be played on Tuesday.